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  1. 1. Women at the Turn of the century <ul><li>Women could not vote. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But had to submit to laws </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women had no property rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Husbands had total legal power and responsibility over wives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could beat them with impunity or imprison them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women had few educational opportunities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Few universities accepted women </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women had few job opportunities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could not enter professional fields such as medicine or law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They were paid a fraction of the men’s salaries </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women had few legal rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Women had fewer social freedoms. </li></ul><ul><li>Women could not participate in church affairs (except as attendees) </li></ul>
  2. 2. Charlotte Perkins Gilman <ul><li>Born in 1860 in Hartford, CT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Related to Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father abandoned family, forcing mother to live in poverty and move frequently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Charlotte was a voracious reader and self educated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rhode Island School of Design </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Designed greeting cards for a living </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>After marriage and childbirth, suffered a terrible depression </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr. ordered her to be sedentary and refrain from creative outlets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This made her condition worse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It inspired The Yellow Wall Paper </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Separated from husband in 1888 and moved to CA; left child with husband </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This was scandalous at the time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Advocated economic independence for women in writings </li></ul><ul><li>Became feminist lecturer, magazine publisher, writer, economist, social reformer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ahead of her time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Killed herself after she learned she had breast cancer </li></ul><ul><li>Her works were rediscovered during the Feminist movements of the 60’s </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Yellow Wallpaper <ul><li>Themes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Postpartum depression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This condition was not understood at the time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feeling trapped by domestic life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No relief or outside stimulation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Men could enter in and out f the private and public sphere and also, be nurtured at home: women could not. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No autonomy to determine your own best interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unquestioned medical/ patriarchal authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>When Gilman’s real doctor read this, he changed his approach to treating depression </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The pen mightier than the sword </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The Yellow Wallpaper breaks the myth of women’s contentment in the domestic life </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Especially when it is forced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This was difficult for women to admit to as they felt intense pressure to uphold the Domestic Goddess archetype </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Yellow Wallpaper <ul><li>One of Gilman’s most effective writings because it was deeply personal </li></ul><ul><li>Her post partum depression was severely exacerbated by her inability to exercise autonomy over her own life </li></ul><ul><li>When reading The Yellow Wall Paper: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pay attention to how the narrator’s state of mind deteriorates. What causes this? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who or what does the woman trapped in The Yellow Wallpaper represent? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What does the narrator’s descent into insanity say about the treatment ordered by the two men in her life? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This story is from the POV of the narrator. How would this story change if told from the perspective of her husband or doctor? </li></ul></ul>