What are some examples of American Feminism in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Feminism can be described as a theory associated with the presentation of the position of women and exploring their relations with men in patriarchal contexts, although this is just one approach to understanding this important concept. This definition is the most appropriate to help us understand how feminism is presented in this text. Let us remember that through choosing to tell this tale through the voice of a woman who is suffering post-partum depression, the author is radically challenging both the medical world and the husband of the narrator. Note how the narrator ironically reflects her own powerless position compared to the right of other men to tell her what is wrong with her:

Personally, I disagree with their ideas.

Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.

Throughout this story, the position of the woman as being powerless and unable to contribute to ideas that would help her get better explores the kind of unequal power relations alluded to in the definition of feminism that I gave at the start of this question. As a woman, the narrator is left to face the consequences of the decisions that others make for her. This means that she slides even further into insanity.

pegah91 | Student

"I’ve got out at last in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper so you can’t put me back."

the narrator means that her husband John cannot treat her as a child anymore, and he cannot expect her to follow society's norms anymore, she has broken free from society's hold on her.

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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