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In the last half of the nineteenth century Victorian ideals still held sway in American society at least among members of the middle and upper classes Thus the cult of True Womanhood was still promoted which preached four cardinal virtues for women piety purity submissiveness and domesticity Women were considered far more religious than men and therefore they had to be pure in heart mind and of course body not engaging in sex until marriage and even then not finding any pleasure in it They were also supposed to be passive responders to mens decisions actions and needs The true womans place was her home females were uniquely suited to raise childrencare for the needs of their menfolk and devote their lives to creating a nurturing home environment Norton 108 However the tensions between old and new traditional and untraditional were great during the last years of nineteenth century and there was a debate among male and female writers and social thinkers as to what the role of women should be Among the female writers who devoted their work to defying their views about the womans place in society were Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Kate Chopin Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860-1935 was a social activist and theorist of the womens movement at the turn of the twentieth century She developed her feminist ideals in her novels short stories and nonfiction books such as Women and Economics Charlotte Perkins Gilman is best known for her short story The Yellow Wallpaper 1892 which is based on her own experience As the story begins the woman-whose name we never learn- tells of her depression and how it is being treated by her husband and brother who are both doctors These two men are unable to see that there is more to her condition than just a stress and depression and prescribe for her rest as a cure The narrator is taken to a summer house to recover form
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