While having read “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Gillman, I have realized that much is to be said about early roles of women and how psychology tied into them. The hardships of the lives of women were not dwelled upon as if it were a man’s life. Most if not all of the females of this era had specific gender roles that were followed. The time period that this story was written in didn’t particularly have many free roaming women, most especially if there was marriage involved.
In the story the husband John displayed his sense of dictatorship by not allowing his wife to write or by not allowing her to make her own decisions. The story showed this woman, as if she were helpless, trapped in a world that her every move was guided. This could be the situation for most women of this time. The society of this time played a huge factor on the influence of how women should be treated. Women assumed a certain position and that was one of a housewife. This, for the most part was every married woman’s job.
During this time it seemed that there was nothing else to offer to a women besides a place in the kitchen. Having individuality and a sense of self-worth is very important in leading a healthy life. I feel that Johns wife showed to be quite a strong character after the binds were broke and she could go her own way. This was a rare way of breaking the common gender role of this time period and choosing to fallow ones own role. I thought that the winding wallpaper was a symbol of what could be seen as an expression of ones own individuality, being that the pattern was always changing and different.
If the pattern can be unique and individual than why couldn’t she. In the movie, “Death of a Salesman” gender role was seen quite a bit. This story also took place in the early nineteenth century, so like “The Yellow Wallpaper”, many of the male and female roles were the same. Willy was the ultimate example of early nineteenth century gender role. Willy was the bread maker of the family and he would do whatever it took to bring the money home to pay the bills. Willy treated his wife as most women were treated in those days, like crap.
Willys two sons Biff and Happ also took on the roles of common men of the time. Biff being the athletic, strong, star of the team football player. His character is a great example of a gender stereotype, because at first glance he looks like a big jock. Happ being a skirt chaser, running around looking for women, serves as a good example of how women might perceive some men to be. Serving as the foundation of the family, Linda is also a great example of the common gender role. She was always offering a hot meal for the family and would do anything to satisfy the men in the family.
When it came to her husband, she would fallow his every order just like in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, but Linda never able to stand up for herself. Gender roles were a huge part in the early nineteenth century, and these two stories showed this. As each day goes on, different expectations and perceptions of what the role of men and women is, changes. No matter how blind we try to be toward things that men and women should do, there will always be individual opinions on expected gender roles.