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The Yellow Wallpaper The Life and Times of an American WomanThe majority of the life that is known of Charlotte Perkins Gilman isconcerned with her troubled and loveless relationships with her motherher father and her daughter These relationships are central to the lifeof Charlotte Perkins Gilman yet only somewhat relate to the incident inher life that sparked one of the greatest pieces of feminist literature everwritten To be able to relate to Gilmans situation and appreciate TheYellow Wallpaper for how it shows womens lives is difficult in this agewhere women have more freedom than ever before Gilmans originalintent in writing the story was to gain personal satisfaction from theknowledge that shows that she was right and society was wrong in theway they treated her But more importantly Gilman says It was notintended to drive people crazy but to save people from being drivencrazy and it workedGilman 20 When the story first came out in 1892 the critics saw The YellowWallpaper as a description of female insanity and mayhem instead of astory that reveals societys values The thought that any woman wouldgo against society might as well have been insane for writing it in thefirst place In the time period in which Gilman lived The ideal womanwas not only assigned a social role that locked her into her home but shewas also expected to like it to be cheerful and gay smiling and goodhumoredLane 109 The women who refused this role and chose a lifeof self-expression and freedom from the social constraints sufferedridicule and punishment from their peers This is not unlike therepercussions that Gilman experienced throughout her lifetime fromexpressing her need for independence In The Yellow WallpaperCharlotte Perkins Gilman wrote about her emotional and psychologicalfeelings of rejection from society as a free-thinking woman Gilman comes from a varied list of fighters for womens rights andwithout having this type of influence throughout her life she would havenever become the free thinker that she is famous for
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