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Social Criticism in Short Stories Although most short stories at first glance may seem to be simply fictional tales about people and situations that dont exist this is not always the case Some short stories are actually the authors criticisms of specific cultural values and social conventions veiled by an interesting plot and engaging characters This is certainly true of three stories specifically A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Everyday Use by Alice Walker In each of these stories the author integrates his or her thoughts about society into the fiction Charlotte Perkins Gilmans The Yellow Wallpaper is the semi-autobiographical story of a womans descent into madness in spite of and partly because of the husbands prescription of lengthy bed-rest This story is essentially Gilmans criticism of how women were treated by men at that time Men were nothing more than wardens in the lives of women In the beginning of the story the main character and her husband are spending time in a mansion they rented so that she may recuperate from the recent birth of her child and calm her nerves When her husband assigns her to stay in the nursery the theme of male dominance over women is introduced By choosing the nursery as the place where the main character will stay Gilman is delineating womens status in society as a child basically under the care and control of an adult The woman in the story is treated and talked to as if she were a child by her husband Bless her little heart said he with a big hug She shall be as sick as she pleases681 He at no point treats her as an equal but rather as someone whom he must take care of and dominate This is how Gilman felt women in society at that time were treated in the male-dominant society She presents
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