What is the author's main argument on gender roles in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

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The author's main argument on gender roles is that if they are too rigid, they ultimately act to the detriment of women.

This argument is illustrated by the marriage in the story between the unnamed narrator and her doctor husband, John. In keeping with the prevailing social standards of the time, the wife is demure and does what her husband tells her to do. So when she comes down with what her husband diagnoses as an attack of hysteria, Dr. John prohibits her from writing, thus closing off a vital creative outlet.

To successive generations of feminist critics, this has been interpreted as a metaphor for how traditional gender roles have served to repress female creativity as part of a general strategy of patriarchal repression. On this reading, we see in the character of the narrator a microcosm of the condition of women as a whole, unable to give vent to their deepest, innermost creative impulses due to asymmetrical power relations between the sexes.

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