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Free Yellow Wallpaper Essays: Physical and Mental Abuse

Physical and Mental Abuse in The Yellow Wallpaper

What is Abuse? Abuse is not just being hit. Abuse is any action that is harmful or controlling and that affects the well being of another person. Many people use the term “Abuse” to signify physical abuse, but there are many more ways of abusing someone than beating them. Physical abuse is the most horrifying and most noticeable of them all, but it is only one of the many types of abuse. Here are some of the names for different categories of abuse: Physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Psychological and Verbal abuse, Forced confinement, abuse towards pets or property, Financial abuse, and Child abuse. The two abuses that I will be focusing on will be physical and mental abuse.

I decided to pick the topic of abuse after viewing the movie The Yellow Wall- paper. After watching the movie and seeing how badly Mary Wollstonecraft was treated, it made me want to know more about abuse on women and what could be done to break the chain of abuse. I believe that no abuse is acceptable and that any man that has ever abused a woman in anyway should face major consequences. That is my main point to this paper, that the laws are not strong enough and that more effort should be done so that no women is ever abused in anyway shape or form again. To start, I will give some statistics about police and how they handle calls from wives that have been abused. “Police were more likely to respond within five minutes if the offender was a stranger than if an offender was known to the female victim” (“Response”1). Also, it has been recorded that once a women in Boston called in that her husband had beaten her and the policeman’s response was, “Listen, lady, he pays the bills, doesn’t he? What he does inside of his house is his business”(Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz 301). With a response like this, why even bother calling the police. That is why we must come together and start over from the inside out. We need to make every one in any position of power know that any abuse on women is wrong. The truth is that, “90% of all family violence defendants are never prosecuted, and one-third of the cases that would be considered felonies if committed by strangers are filed as misdemeanors (a lesser crime)” (“Response”1).

A Comparison of Violence in Living Jim Crow, Incident, and Blood burning moon

Violence in Living Jim Crow, Incident, and Blood burning moon

Violence seems to be quite a common topic in black American literature of the first decades of the 20th century. One major reason for this is probably that it was important for black authors not to be quiet about the injustices being done to them. The violence described in the texts is not only of the physical kind, but also psychological: the constant harassment and terrorising. The ever-present violence had such an effect on the black that they just could not fight back to stop the injustices.

Richard Wright describes in his autobiography ‘The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch’ the atmosphere at his first job, where his fellow workers would not teach him anything, just because he was black: “This is a white man’s work around here, and you better watch yourself” (291). From that moment on, he never really felt at ease going to work. This kind of feeling of unease is also found in Countee Cullen’s ‘Incident.’ It shows clearly how children are not really aware of the differences adults believe to exist between different races until being told that there is a difference. The poem seems to be a product of personal experiences as a child, when another child pokes out his tongue and calls the speaker of the poem “nigger” during a stay in Baltimore, and it pictures the human tendency to look no further than the colour of the skin. This is probably an event that stayed in the child’s mind all his life, hence the final lines of the poem: “I saw the whole of Baltimore / From May until December; / Of all the things that happened there / That’s all that I remember” (384).

In his autobiography Wright also describes the childhood fi…

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… habits free rein. Reading Black Voices really made me think of how I act and think when it comes to racial issues and even though I know that all human beings are equal, this kind of reminder is necessary – for all of us.


From the anthology Black voices:

Jean Toomer: ‘Blood burning moon’

Richard Wright: ‘The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch’

Dudley Randall: ‘The Idiot’

Countee Cullen: ‘Incident’

Internet resources:

Countee Cullen. The Academy of American Poets. March 2001

Jean Toomer. Heath Online Instructor’s Guide. March 2001

1 “Gutta cavat lapidem non vi sed saepe cadendo”: Latin for “The drop carves the stone, not by force but by constant dripping.”

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