Structuralism and the Yellow Wallpaper
Structuralism and Stetson’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”
In Charlotte Perkins Stetson’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a chilling and darker side of the Victorian woman is exposed. In the story, a young Victorian housewife is believed to be sick by her husband and subsequently locked up in a room, where she slowly begins to loose her grip on reality. In essence, the story demonstrates the extreme power men at the time had over a much more helpless female role, primarily because the structure of society took away all power the women had over their own bodies, lifestyles, and being. In the story, the term insanity and all the meaning behind it becomes a charged method for a patriarchal society to take away power from women; as the author begins to embrace her perceived insanity she begins to solidify her role within this complex and oppressive gender hierarchy, being completely powerless to fight it.
The language of a story goes much further than just to entertain. It represents a whole slew of deeper embedded meanings and charged social representations. After all, “language is a social institution” (De Saussure 59). Thus, the description and labeling of the narrator as insane is a social application of language to serve certain gender and power roles from within the larger Victorian society. In this, there is clearly a “relationship between the historical facts and the language-state” (De Saussure 64). From a structuralism perspective, the important parts of a story are the embedded meanings of the systems that created that story (Cherry 1). Ultimately, this means the representation of the social system that influenced Stetson to write such a story to begin with. According to the text, “language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely from the simultaneous presence of others” (De Saussure 66). Thus, terms and concepts brought up within any given story can help readers from a different time period begin to digest the complex social structures that were present within the time the story itself was written. Modern audiences may view specific words and ideas differently, and thus must take on a structuralist approach to dissecting the charged meaning behind given words to better understand the social context behind them.
For example, the way the word insane is used within the context of Stetson’s story differs dramatically from the way it might be used today. Throughout the story, the narrator debates her sanity over the sanity of her husband and other male figures she encounters. Her husband is a physician, and is thus the epitome of reason from society’s perspective. She claims, “John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures” (Sttson 647). Clearly, the husband is the epitome of the enlightened Victorian man. He represents not only power, but knowledge, being that he is a physician and that he only believes in what he can record as observable evidence. This directly conflicts with the position of the narrator, who seems to believe that the yellow wallpaper is alive. Thus, there is a sense of empowerment her husband has in regards to her own welfare. The language used to describe the narrator’s illness becomes a prescription for the disenfranchisement of her gender. She, as a female, looses all power to her husband because of the ascription of her insanity compared to his sanity. There is an underlying acceptance of her insanity because it comes from the patriarchal source of power, the narrator’s husband. John even takes away her freedom to choose what room she resides in. She initially “wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings, but John would not hear of it,” (Stetson 648). The narrator describes her husband as caring, yet extremely authoritarian over her decisions and condition. He uses her gender to label her as inferior, thus putting all power and decisions in his hands and not hers. Yet, clearly, he does not act in her best interest. Locking her up in such a desolate room only exacerbates her condition, one which probably never really fully existed in the first place. Instead, the label of insanity here represents the female form, which had no place in Victorian patriarchal society. Insanity, it seems, is equivalent to femininity at this point.
Powerless over her own condition, the author’s symbolic representation of her insanity begins to change. The narrator explains how she has lost touch with her creativity and has not written nearly as much as she used to. This exemplifies how her husband has begun to take away the very nature of her being. He uses his power over her to force her into a submissive position, one which does not allow her any sense of individuality or freedom. Rather than accepting her doomed fate through a negative connotation of insanity, the narrator seems to begin to accept it, which ultimately changes the meaning of the word. She claims that “life is very much more exciting now than it used to be,” signifying how embracing her insanity has given her the only sense of freedom she can find, as strange as that may sound to a modern reader (654). Rather than fight a hopeless battle against the power of the male role within Victorian society, Stetson is relinquishing herself and her power, accepting a submissive position within the extreme gender hierarchy. She really believes that she is insane, and subsequently gives in to the battle against patriarchal domination.
Clearly, the language here signifies the power struggle between men and women within the Victorian age. The word insane essentially replaces the word for female, and all aspects of femininity are replaced with a sense of madness as the male figure enforces his will and domination over his helpless wife. With no way to defend her own condition, the narrator relinquishes herself and eventually becomes as insane as her husband labeled her in the beginning.
Cherry, Kendra. “Structuralism and Functionalism.” About Psychology. Web. http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/structuralism.htm
De Saussure, Ferdinand. “Course in General Linguistics.”
Stetson, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?
- Plagiarism free papers
- Timely delivery
- Any deadline
- Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
- Subject-relevant academic writer
- Adherence to paper instructions
- Ability to tackle bulk assignments
- Reasonable prices
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Get superb grades consistently
Online Academic Help With Different Subjects
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
What discipline/subjects do you deal in?
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
What if I don’t like the paper?
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
- When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
- We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.
In the event that you don’t like your paper:
- The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
- We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
- Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.
Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
What if the paper is plagiarized?
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
When will I get my paper?
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
Will anyone find out that I used your services?
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
How our Assignment Help Service Works
1. Place an order
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
2. Pay for the order
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
3. Track the progress
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
4. Download the paper
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!