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Blog Post 8 (10/13)

The Yellow Wallpaper sheds light on the gender inequality issue in the nineteenth century. It was extremely disturbing to see how the narrator’s husband was controlling all aspects of her life. She even found his behavior at the end to be “queer” which worried and even scared her when she started to go nearly insane and imagine different things about the wallpaper. The author’s mental health became worse due to the fact that society has set certain expectations of women like maintaining a household and raising children and this job was seen as the only thing they are capable of. And because the author was not able to conform to these traditional stereotypes and do the work that is expected of her, her mental health became worse as she was seen as less of a woman in the eyes of society. She saw herself as a “burden” on her husband instead of being his “comfort”. 

What bothered me most was the fact that Gilman obeyed her husband and did not even question him in terms of his diagnosis as she saw him be superior to her; a doctor who knew what is best for her and her health. Women nowadays have gained more rights and empowerment in the West. In the Middle East where I grew up,  the Islamic patriarchal system has forced women to believe that they are given their rights and treated better than other wome under their religion. This upsets me a lot, as almost all Arab women are brainwashed to believe that they are equal to men and do not fight to gain their rights while in reality they are oppressed. I could relate Gilman’s ignorance and this childish state to almost every woman I know back home; unless women themselves are aware that their rights are violated, no actual will happen in this part of the world.

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5 Comments

  1. Christopher Wilson Christopher Wilson

    A common thread in most of the speaker’s entries was the perception of herself. Specifically, the speaker viewed herself- like you said Mohamad- as a “burden” on her husband instead of being her husband’s “comfort,” which was her priority as her husband’s wife according to 19th-century traditional gender norms. After hearing you speak on how women in the Middle East are treated under the law, I wonder how patriarchal systems of power can become co-conspirators in bringing equality for all women.

  2. Charley Blount Charley Blount

    I’m glad you mentioned the “control” aspect of this story. I found this to be the redeeming example of sexism in the story because her husband’s indifference/frustration with her mental health seems like a separate issue. Her husband’s insistence that she stay in the house and follow his orders exemplifies her inferior status in the relationship.

  3. Morgan Crocker Morgan Crocker

    This story demonstrates how the certain expectations of women from society lead to mental health problems. I was also bothered by how Gilman listened/obeyed her husband so easily and believed him over the actual doctor when it came to her mental health status.

  4. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    I think you offer an interesting insight into interpreting the feminist element of this story. It’s really easy to study it in either a strictly feminist lens or a strictly psychoanalytic lens, but I think you did a really good job tying the two together. The narrator’s coordinating experiences between her self-perceived inferiority to her husband and her worsening mental health are essential to understanding the multifaceted social issues presented in this story.

  5. Alexandra Oloughlin Alexandra Oloughlin

    I really liked the personal connection you made with the story. I have read about women rights in the middle east, but you brought it from a new perspective, sharing the sadness in the fact that the women believe they are equal while they are being oppressed, something similar being shown by Gilmans obedience to the doctor. Do you think that realistically you will see a change in how women are oppressed in your lifetime?

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