An Exploration of the Different Ways in Which Gilman and Carter Depict Patriarchy

The Yellow Wallpaper and The Bloody Chamber express feminist ideologies through their depiction of female characters in victimized situations. In The Yellow Wallpaper through the perspective of the narrator, the audience is able to feel the emotions and constraints applied by the husband, John. By deeming the narrator as ill, John controls every aspect of her life; this represents the way in which women are treated in a patriarchal society. John is clearly working to hold control over the narrator in order to claim the masculinity he is entitled to, this connects to patriarchy in the sense that women are put down in order to keep men up. John limits the narrator emotionally and physically, by forcing her to remain in bed rest and by limiting the artistic activities she is able to indulge in.


Carter, in The Tiger’s Bride, depicts a female character who is constrained by her not only father but the masculine Beast. The narrator is objectified to the extent that she is gambled by her father to the Beast. She is locked away in a cell by the Beast, similar to the way the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper is metaphorically locked away by John. These strong symbols of patriarchy are exposing the effects they apply on women, as they are treated as secondary figures.


Both authors provide insight on how the roles of women are changing, while they are not entirely positive, they are legitimate examples of the evolution of patriarchy. In the end of The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator goes crazy trying to escape from John, serving as a reflection on the fact that women are realizing their constraints in society. While escaping from bedrest, the narrator claims “I’ve got out at last”, and then questions the situation by asking “in spite of you and Jane?” (Stetson 656), which implies not only an escape from John but a release of her entire persona as a female under the control of a male. Her name is finally revealed, and she doesn’t even feel as if it belongs to her. In a different story by Carter, The Bloody Chamber, the story ends with a dramatic killing by the narrator’s mom on Marquis, who is moments away from murdering the narrator. While this ending provides no clear ideology towards patriarchy, it leaves open the idea that women do not always have to characterize the victim.

Works Cited: Stetson, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.



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