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An Analysis of the Theme of the Degradation of the Female Gender in the Short Stories Daisy Miller and the Yellow Wallpaper
Word Count: 1,025
In the short stories Daisy Miller and the Yellow Wallpaper there is one distinct and obvious theme the degradation of the female gender Society often places specific stereotypical and restrictive standards on the female sex Although modern women have overcome unfair chauvinism and prejudice late nineteenth and early twentieth-century was much different Women were forced to deal with a culture in which gender equality was much less understood Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Henry James voiced their opinions concerning gender inequalities themselves through fictional literature In Charlotte Perkins Gilmans short story The Yellow Wallpaper the main character is a woman who is mentally ill and basically imprisoned until she regains her normal mental state As in Henry Jamess Daisy Miller the main character is a young American girl traveling in Europe who denies the classic female standards and simply constructs her own rules In the Yellow Wallpaper the entire story progresses never revealing the main characters name This in itself possibly alludes to the fact that the women of her era simply lacked their own personal identity They were known simply as the wife of Mr Smith rather than their own separate entity or Mrs Smith In this case her husband John treated her as a frail and incapable being to which he laughed at her fears and disregarded her concerns as meaningless worries She acknowledged this as nothing beyond the normality and accepts it because that is what her society deems average When she comments that there must be something odd about a house so large and beautiful yet rented to them at such a reasonable price she states John laughs at me of course but one expects that in a marriage Gilman 833 John continually tells her that her illness is psychological and encourages her to try and get more fresh air and sleep He believes as a doctor that she needs alone time to help her recover more quickly However at one
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