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The Yellow-Wallpaper as a Social Criticism Traditionally men have held the power in society Women have been treated as a second class of citizens with neither the legal rights nor the respect of their male counterparts Culture has contributed to these gender roles by conditioning to these gender roles by conditioning women to accept their subordinate status while encouraging young men to lead and control Feminist criticism contends that literature either supports societys patriarchal structure or provides social criticism in order to change this hierarchy The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman depicts one womens struggle against the traditional female role into which society attempts to force her and the societal reaction to this act From the beginning of this work the woman is shown to have gone mad We are given no insight into the past and we do not know why she has been driven to the brink of insanity The beautifulEnglish place that the woman sees in her minds eye is the way men have traditionally wanted women to see their role in society As the woman says It is quite alone standing well back from the roadIt makes me think of English placesfor there are hedges and walls and gates that lock and lots of separate little houses for the gardeners and people There is a delicious garden I never saw such a gardenlarge and shady full of box-bordered paths and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under them This lovely English countryside picture that this woman paints to the reader is a shallow view at the real likeness of her prison The reality of things is that this lovely place is her small living space and in it she is to function as every other good housewife should The description of her cell versus the reality of it is a very good example of the restriction women had in those days They were free to see things as they
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