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The Yellow Wallpaper - Response Paper

            Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a married woman struggling with an illness and is confined to a single room unable to do what she loves, which is to write. Throughout the story the author suggests that she is stuck in confinement due to her gender. "The Yellow Wallpaper" explores the themes of gender and freedom and how it affects the women of the late 1800s.
             One example of how gender affects the narrator and the women of the late 1800s is the fact that they are unable to think for themselves. Throughout the story the narrator has an issue with thinking on her own. She is confined in a room because her husband feels he knows what is best for her health. In reality only the narrator knows what can help her and she feels that being alone in a room will not do her any good. Since she is unable to think for herself she is forced to be in solitary confinement, which ruins her mentality even more. The female gender essentially feel trapped by their husbands or by the males that are controlling their lives. There was also an aspect of their class, since the narrator's husband was a physician people always looked up to them. The narrator and her husband had to keep up a certain appearance. No one could know that the narrator was suffering due to their placement in society. Also woman were not necessarily thought of as smart in that time period. The narrator's hobby was to write because she enjoyed it, but her husband did not let her write or think for herself, which affected the narrator in a serious way.
             Another example is that since the narrator is a woman she is subjected to do the chores society feels a woman should be doing. In the late 1800s women were supposed to stay home, clean, and maintain the house while their husbands went out and worked. John's sister, Jennie, who represents all that is right with the women of that time period, took on this gender role of a good "housewife".

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