Oppression in "The Yellow Wallpaper"--what points can I make? Charlotte Perkins GilmanThe topic is "how individuals respond to the constraints of convention or circumstance." (How people respond...

Oppression in "The Yellow Wallpaper"--what points can I make?

Charlotte Perkins Gilman


The topic is "how individuals respond to the constraints of convention or circumstance."
(How people respond to the demeaning treatment of others)

I know oppression and how women got treated poorly have a huge connection in this story, but I am having trouble putting ideas into a thesis.

Asked on by gorugob3

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a narrative of a woman's descent into mental illness because of depression and the disturbing oppression that she experiences in the patriarchal society of the Victorian Age.  For the topic that deals with how individuals respond to the constraints of their society, you may wish to examine the narrator's social dependence upon her husband, her depression about this dependence and the terrible repression of her artistic individuality, and, finally her attempt at self-assertion.  With these three subtopics, you can come up with a thesis, or general statement about the narrator's oppressive situation, then discuss the three relationships by enumerating three opinions based upon the three conditions/relationships that she experiences.  For instance, you could state that Gilman's narrator exposes the repressive conditions of the Victorian woman by the patriarchal societal demands that the woman be submissive.  These demands cause the mental illness of the narrator, who tries to assert her individuality by fighting back in the manner of freeing the woman behind the wallpaper.

 See the links below to help you generate some ideas. For example, a perspective of one of the essays is that the woman is forced to act as the nineteenth-century idea, and the wallpaper incident is a desperate attempt at individuality and self-assertion.

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