After reading "Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I gained a new respect for people who write about events that actually happened to them. I think it takes a very brave person to put so much personal information into a story because it will undoubtedly be judged. People will say, "I hate this character" and the writer will know that that person is actually saying that they hate the author because the character is a reflection of the author. Gilman explains that during her unstable times, her doctor told her to '"have but two hours' intellectual life a day,'"(Gilman). This statement struck me as so demeaning and discriminatory. The doctor then went on to say, '"never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again,"'(Gilman). Not only does this story offer insight into the life of Gilman, but also insight into the lives of every woman who was oppressed or mistreated due to the fact that it was always the social norm to look at women as inferior to men. I always find myself writing about the oppression of women caused by men. It's just a topic that can really heat me up and I find myself always ready to debate about it. Just today in EL 237 Writing About Literature, Dr. Patterson started a class discussion about Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and by the time the class period was over I had gone on a rant about stereotypical women and the roles they are expected to play. I also related it to our lives today, by saying that boys everywhere are allowed to hook up with however many girls they want and as a result that boy is considered "the man", but if a girl does the same, she is obviously a complete slut. It is SUCH a shame that women are forced to endure these double standards. (men don't take offense, i am not at all saying you don't have things to endure as well) But anyways, I was happy to see almost every female head in the room bobbing up and down in agreeance to my example. Along with the classroom discussion, here is a short fragment of my reading response on The Bell Jar:
Esther Greenwood is angered at the fact than men are not forced to make these life changing choices. Because they are considered dominant, they are able to have multiple outcomes without having to make sacrifices. Unlike men, women are forced to sacrifice their life’s goals to tend to the needs of their husbands. In the 1950’s it is considered the social norm for females to be dominated by their male partner. Esther’s inability to choose which direction to go in life suggests that she is fighting an internal battle in which her desire to be an individual and distance herself from the oppression of men must overcome the pressures she faces to fall into a typical female role. Despite the pressure Esther feels from those around her, she refuses to succumb to a man and fall into the role that is expected of her.
Yes this is just roughly done, but it’s an example of how women are oppressed by men throughout different periods of time. And yes I am aware that I went on another rant completely off topic of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Needless to say, I was inspired by Gilman’s “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper”.