February 25, 2007

The Gender Gap

"Women authors, however, reflect the literal reality of their own cofinement in the constraints they depict, and so all at least begin with the same unconcious or conscious purpose in employing such spatial imagery. Recording their own distinctively female experience, they are secretly working through and within the conventions of literary texts to define their own lives" (Gilbery and Gubar 261).

It's all about the metaphors, ladies.

As Karissa also stated in her blog entry, Gilbert and Gubar claim that while women authors do use metaphors in their writing, they are of the more obvious variety and not on the same plane as men. The metaphors, they continue, are also more limited to the domestic variety, since this was the woman's main place of seclusion and writing material during the time when these feminist writings were emerging (the 19th century). Men, on the other hand, seem to use a variety of metaphors in their writing to describe their own psychological issues since they have more to explore- ie nothing in the home. So not only do men and women read differently, but they can't even use the same metaphors to describe seclusion? What's next?

It seems like the metaphors brought up in the article "'The Yellow Wallpaper'" (wow, that was creative, Gilbert and Gubar) are pretty basic ones...so obvious, in fact, that one almost hates to refer to them as metaphors. A house representing oppression, the domestic items as a metaphor for repression...nothing extremely new here. And when applied to "The Yellow Wallpaper" it came up with the same results- same basic ideas. I mean, how could anyone not read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and just be hit over the head with metaphors? And yet, why didn't I find anything new and interesting when reading the article? Am I a metaphor genius? Um...no; I'm just used to them. Back in the time this story was written, such metaphors being presented by women writers was probably a radical and new idea- much like Kolodny remarked in her article that men had to "get used to" reading works by women because they were so shocking and far from the normal standards of female writing at the time. Much like the metaphors in the stories. They are not "basic" or have less meaning than those by men but are simply related to the lives and women at the time. Now, however, the average reader understands both the writings of men and women, including their metaphors (and true lack of diversity between the two genders) and do not find the ideas as shocking when reading "The Yellow Wallpaper".

If we've come together to understand the writings and meanings between the works of either genders, why keep bringing up their differences if we now see that the ideas and themes are universal to either group?

Gilbert and Gubar, ''The Yellow Wallpaper'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at February 25, 2007 7:50 PM | TrackBack
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