The Yellow Wallpaper is a story, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Although the work is short, it is one of the most interesting works in existence. Gilman uses literary techniques very well. The symbolism of The Yellow Wallpaper, can be seen and employed after some thought and make sense immediately. The views and ideals of society are often found in literary works. Whether the author is trying to show the ills of society of merely telling a story, culture is woven onto the words. The relationship between the narrator and her husband would be disagreeable to a modern woman’s relationship. Today, most women crave equality with their partner. The reader never learns the name of the narrator, perhaps to give the illusion that she could be any woman. On the very fist page of The Yellow Wall-Paper, Gilman illustrates the male dominated society and relationship. It was customary for men to assume that their gender knew what, when, how, and why to do things. John, the narrator’s husband, is a prominent doctor and both his and his wife’s words and actions reflect the aforementioned stereotype: “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage,” (9). This statement illustrates the blatant sexism of society at the time. John does not believe that his wife is sick, while she is really suffering from post-partum depression. He neglects to listen to his wife in regard to her thoughts, feelings, and health through this thought pattern. According to him, there is not anything wrong with his wife except for temporary nerve issues, which should not be serious. By closing her off from the rest of the world, he is taking her away from things that important to her mental state; such as her ability to read and write, her need for human interaction, her need to make her own decisions. All of these are important to all people. This idea of forced rest and relaxation to cure temporary nervous problems was very common at the time. Many doctors prescribed it for their female patients. The narrators husband, brother, and their colleagues all feel that this is the correct way to fix her problem, which is practically nonexistent in their eyes. Throughout the beginning of the story, the narrator tends to buy into the idea that the man is always right and makes excuses for her feelings and his actions and words: “It is so hard to talk to John about my case, because he is so wise and because he loves me so,” (23).
The Character of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire
The Character of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire
Blanche, Stella’s older sister, until recently a high school English teacher in Laurel, Mississippi. She arrives in New Orleans a loquacious, witty, arrogant, fragile, and ultimately crumbling figure. Blanche once was married to and passionately in love with a tortured young man. He killed himself after she discovered his homosexuality, and she has suffered from guilt and regret ever since. Blanche watched parents and relatives, all the old guard, die off, and then had to endure foreclosure on the family estate. Cracking under the strain, or perhaps yielding to urges so long suppressed that they now could no longer be contained, Blanche engages in a series of sexual escapades that trigger an expulsion from her community. In New Orleans she puts on the airs of a woman who has never known indignity, but Stanley sees through her. Her past catches up with her and destroys her relationship with Mitch. Stanley, as she fears he might, destroys what’s left of her. At the end of the play she is led away to an insane asylum. This is indeed the story of what happened to Blanche in the play but what flaws in her own character were to blame for her subsequent tragedy. Blanche is by far the most complex character of the play. An intelligent and sensitive woman who values literature and the creativity of the human imagination, she is also emotionally traumatised and repressed. This gives license for her own imagination to become a haven for her pain. One senses that Blanches own view of her real self as opposed to her ideal self has been increasingly blurred over the years until it is sometimes difficult for her to tell the difference. It is a challenge to find the key to Blanche’s melancholy but perhaps the roots of her trauma lie in her early marriage. She was haunted by her inability to help or understand her young, troubled husband and that she has tortured herself for it ever since. Her drive to lose herself in the “kindness of strangers” might also be understood from this period in that her sense of confidence in her own feminine attraction was shaken by the knowledge of her husband’s homosexuality and she is driven to use her sexual charms to attract men over and over. Yet, beneath all this, there is a desire to find a companion, to find fulfilment in love.