The Yellow Wallpaper Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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How could psychoanalytic and feminist  theories of literary criticism be applied to Charlotte Perkins's story "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

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The Feminist Critical lens and the Psychoanalytic lens can both be applied to Charlotte Perkins's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper."

The Feminist lens can be applied by examining how the main character (female) is portrayed in relation to men (her husband). The protagonist's own ideas about what is going on in her life are oppressed by the thoughts of her doctor husband. He believes he knows better than her, and he forces her into isolation. By ignoring her cries for different treatment, he oppresses her (essentially because she is a woman, and he does not think she knows what is actually going on). He marginalizes her illness and ignores her cries to be heard. In the end, if her husband would have listened to her, he would have illustrated the value of a woman's perspective. Sadly, he does not, and her descent into madness parallels a woman's descent into oppression.

Psychoanalytic theory examines how a text could be interpreted in regards to the author's own possible neuroses. In...

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