‘A or status were targeted and made vulnerable

‘A women is never
truly free’ is explored through the physical confinement,
inflicted by men and their authority. In both texts ‘The Yellow
Wallpaper’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber’, both writers craft explore
how male characters physically control the way in how women behave,
through the ideology of a male patriarchal society. Significantly,
this is witnessed through the setting of the house in ‘The Yellow
Wallpaper’, ‘there are hedges and walls and gates that lock’.
The use of the nouns ‘walls and gates that lock’ reflect the
significance of how women were valued, as ‘lock’ suggests how
women in general were treated poorly, such as an object, who were
forbidden to leave the ‘walls’ of their houses, by the
instruction men created, to highlight their position as a hierarchy
figure. This supports the statement in the sense, ‘a women is never
truly free’ to act against the physical restraints of their higher
authority, limiting their liberation to freely act. In addition, it’s
also argued that the imagery of the house could be a representation
of a psychiatric hospital. (Wendy Wallace) explores how women
throughout the eighteenth century, (1858 to 1900’s) were regularly
admitted to psychiatric wards. She quotes ”most women with a low
social status in Victorian society were more vulnerable to being
locked away in a mental home, for no specific diagnosis.” This
symbolically highlights women’s loss of liberation to speak out
against false diagnosis, which is what Gilman was subjected to; as
she suffered the consequences of being falsely diagnosed by John,
which turned fatal for her. However, it’s also critical that all
women of rank or status were targeted and made vulnerable to the
action of men, not just women with a low social status, as all women
were pressured to conform to the Victorian patriarchal life.
Furthermore, the writers craft explores the recurring motif of the
bedroom and the significance it has on the narrator and the reader.
The use of the language ‘nailed down bed’ and ‘barred windows’
suggests the oppression of female sexuality during the Victorian era.
(Greg Johnson) states ‘nailed down bed’ acts as a ”sexual
crucifixion” regarding to Victorian women sexuality. This is
significant. as a ‘crucifixion’ is a form of bounding a person to
an object to perform an execution, although, it is also a symbol of
Jesus Christ. This suggests the execution of women’s sexuality is a
religious motif, as the Christian bible reflects physicality of male
dominance, (Ephesians 5:22-24) ” wives, submit yourselves unto
your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of
the wife”. Also, (Greg Johnson) further presents the ‘bed’
”as a symbolic motif of being immobile, just like a women’s
sexuality”, highlighting the narrators social and physical
oppression, as society was incapable of moving forward to liberate
women. To context, women were discouraged to express their sexuality
and were dominantly viewed as a sexual object for male use. However,
women who acted against the social order and had liberated themselves
were often viewed as ‘fallen women’, whom were described as women
who lost their purity and had fallen from the grace of God. This
highlights how ‘a women is never truly free’ from the confinement
of their sexuality, which is often witnessed in modern day history.
Similarly, Carter explores the effects of male physicality in ‘The
Bloody Chamber’ and the exploitation the narrator is exposed to by
the male gaze. ‘I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw
myself, suddenly, as he saw me.’ The noun ‘mirror’ is symbolic,
as it becomes a symbol that becomes repetitive within the story,
which Carter uses as a motif to expose the Marquis desires. The idea
of ‘and I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me’ suggests the
narrators exposer to her innocence, highlighting her vulnerability,
as ‘he saw me’ reflects the idea of the male gaze, in the sense
the Marquis only views the narrators exposed body as a sexual object,
confining the narrators to male desire. This is further seen through
the brutality of the Marquis actions, ‘he approached his treat with
a weary appetite.’ The use of the verb ‘approached’ suggests
imagery of anomalistic behaviour, where the Marquis acts as the
predator, using intimidation to physical confine the narrator who is
his prey, to reflect his dominance. ‘His treat’ also highlights
sadist imagery, suggesting this anomalistic behaviour Carter
explores, to highlight how women will always be the prey within a
patriarchy society and therefore will always be confined.

(2) In ‘The Yellow
Wallpaper’ the theme of mental health is explored through the
female narrator, whom suffers the sever effects of mental
confinement, which ultimately leads to her insanity. This is shown
through the use of the writers craft, who observes the narrators
speech, as it slowly starts to disintegrates as the narrators illness
develops through the story, highlighting the narrators struggle with
her identity and reality around her. ‘I’ve got out at last’,
said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane’. And I’ve pulled off most of
the paper, so you can’t put me back!’ The use of third person is
significant as it highlights the moment of catharsis, as Gilman
explores the dramatic change of the narrators characteristics, ‘I’ve
got out at last’ and ‘in spite of you Jane’ illuminates the
narrators split personality, suggesting her mental illness creates
false imagery of liberating herself ‘I’ve got out’, from the
torture of her mental confinement. In addition, the narrators mental
confinement is enforced by male influence, that is witnessed through
‘John’ character, in the sense he belittles the narrator to
dominate control. To context, women in general were belittled in
society so that men could possess power over that person, Similarly
Gilman endured the same confinement where she had no power to speak
against the rest cure that was advised by doctor S. Weir Mitchell,
which would supposedly cure her, however, confined her further into
isolation, that she had no power to control. ‘Can you not trust me
as a physician when I tell you so’, the use of the tone ‘when I
tell you so’ reflects how he questions the narrator in a
manipulative way, as a warning to rekindle his authority over his
wife, as ‘can you not trust me as a physician’ highlights his
status that he uses as an advantage over the narrator to restore his
power. This creates a tense atmosphere for the readers, as male
sovereignty clearly confines the narrator to the subjection of
imprisonment. This furthermore highlights the exert control John has
over the narrator mentally as, ‘there comes John, and I must put
this away,- he hates to have me write a word,’ illuminates the
narrators mental isolation, as she is forced to act in a certain way
that meets to John’s standards, ‘there comes John, and I must’,
suggests the fear the narrator develops towards John, as ‘I must’
suggests dominant language, that the narrator subjects to, as she
isn’t liberated to act freely against John’s orders. Furthermore,
the ‘yellow wallpaper’ becomes a significant symbol that
represents the narrators mental confinement. ‘Dwells on my mind’
illuminates the mental oppression, as ‘dwells’ reflects the
unhealthy obsession the narrator develops for the wallpaper, as it’s
argued, the wallpaper becomes a source of contentment, that
disconnects the narrator from reality, highlighting that although she
is physically free from the restraint of male dominance, she is still
confined from the theme of mental confinement, as she has lost all
disorientation of the real world.

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(3) Gender is
another example that revels the confinement and liberation of women
in both text ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ and ‘The Bloody Chamber’.
The female narrator in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is introduced to
the reader as a middle class wife, who endures the theme of
confinement through her gender, that is imposed by Victorian
expectations, ‘I don’t like to look out of the window there are
so many of these creeping women and they creep so fast’. The use of
the imagery ‘window’ suggests it’s a representation of how the
narrator sees other women in society, whom suffer the same
confinement she faces as a female. The use of the verb ‘Creeping
women’ metaphorically highlights how women unwillingly disguised
themselves with the identity of a domestic worker, to conceal their
identity, as part of the patriarchal society, thereby, dehumanising
‘women’ as objects. To context, the theme of domestic workers
reflects the imagery of slaves, whereby women were educated and
alienated into domestic roles, as part of the life of a patriarchal
society, symbolising ‘a women is never truly free’ from
inequality, illuminating women’s confinement as a second class
citizen. (New York: G.K Hall.1992 pg 223-33) states ”the first
critical studies considered the story as a women’s attempt to
achieve autonomy while facing limitations set by society”,
however, it’s arguable that it achieved the opposite of liberation,
reflecting the idea, the male patriarchal society and it’s social
expectations overshadowed the narrators attempts to liberate, which
turned fatal for the narrator. Gilman further explores the idea of
female confinement through Johns character, whom uses patronising
names to belittle the narrator, ‘blessed little goose’ is
significant, as it highlights the demeaning attitude John has against
the narrator, reflecting his prime authority. The use of the
adjective ‘little’ is symbolic as it suggests John compares the
narrator as a child like figure, which was the norm of a patriarchy
society, whereby, women were treated as children because of their
position below a hierarchy figure, illuminating gender confinement.
Another way to look at genders as a representation of women’s
confinement is within ‘The Bloody Chamber.’ Carter portrays the
mother as a masculine hero, however, it’s questionable if she is
truly liberated as a women or if she represents the image of a women
masquerading as a man. ‘One hand on the reins or the rearing horse
while the other clasped my fathers service pistole.’ The
significance of the noun ‘horse’ reflects the narrators freedom,
encouraging the readers to question if the ‘horse’ is a symbolic
gesture towards women’s liberation. However, ‘my fathers service
pistole reflects the opposite of liberation, as ‘my fathers’
highlights masculine imagery in the sense a ‘gun’ was viewed as a
manly possession, reflecting how the narrator is subjected to the
stereotypes of gender roles, highlighting the confinement of gender.
Furthermore, Carter explores the theme of femininity that is explored
through the mother, as a symbol of hope for the heroine and women in
general. ‘My mother had disposed of a man eating tiger that had
ravaged’, metaphorically describes the mother a fierce, a
significant contrast to a stereotypical fairytale, where women relied
on the man to ‘save the day’, as women were viewed as the
vulnerable victims. The use of the language ‘my mother’ suggests
the idea of respect, as ‘my’ illuminates the idea of pride,
suggesting the mother is a symbol for other women, encouraging them
to find a voice. This argues against the statement that ‘a women is
never truly free’ as the mother is an example of a role model to
others, by rejecting societal expectations, by becoming the hero for
women’s liberation.

(5) Another prime
example of women’s confinement and liberation that the readers
witness is through the confinement of male treatment, where both
narrators are subjected to the possession of their husbands. In ‘The
Bloody Chamber’ the idea of male dominance is explored through the
theme of marriage. As the reader, we notice the female narrator
doesn’t obtain a voice, illuminating the idea that her sexuality
confines her from speaking willingly, which was acceptable throughout
patriarchy societies, where women were not expected to talk against
their husbands actions or opinions, without serious consequences;
which Carter expresses as a symbol of corruption, highlighting the
narrators confinement. ‘Little nun’ and ‘impaled’ suggests
infliction of sex, religion and violence from the Marquis, which is
significant, as it highlights ‘a women is never truly free’ from
the confinement of male treatment, as ‘impaled’ metaphorically
highlights her stolen innocence, representing the narrators
vulnerable position in her marriage. This is supported by the idea of
‘little’, which reflects the Marquis views on status, which was
dominantly more superior to a women, thereby, reflecting the narrator
as beneath his authority. Another prime example of male treatment in
marriage, is witnessed through the gifts that the Marquis treasures
the narrator with. ‘A choker of rubies like an extraordinary
precious slit throat.’ The use of the gothic language is symbolic
as ‘choker’ and ‘rubies’ both associate with blood, which is
significant as it links to the context of the French Revolution,
where the beheadings of aristocrats was originated. This represents
the Marquis penchant desire for bloodshed, reflecting sadistic
imagery, as ‘slit throat’ symbolises the fact, that the Marquis
finds pleasure in lynching his wives, symbolising the narrator is
confined by the treatment of male dominance and by her upcoming
future.