Examining The Psychological Journey Through Oppression English Literature Essay

Charlotte Perkins Gilman ‘s “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” and Ernest Hemingway ‘s “ Hills Like White Elephants ” are parallel to each other in several ways, the most outstanding being the similarities between the chief female characters in each. In “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” , the chief character is the storyteller, who remains unidentified. Parallel to this storyteller is the character in “ Hills Like White Elephants ” named Jig. These two adult females are both accompanied by work forces that become the chief causes of their subjugation. Jig ‘s male opposite number is unidentified throughout the narrative but is referred to as “ the American ” ( Roberts 344 ) . The storyteller of “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” calls her beginning of jobs John. These adult females each suffer from really different fortunes. Jig debates with the American whether or non to acquire an abortion, and the storyteller of “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” struggles to retrieve from an unwellness, while going increasingly consumed in an compulsion with the wallpaper where she is remaining. However, the subjugation by the males and the result of this subjugation is really much the same in both instances. Both males try to coerce their thoughts and desires on the adult females, and both adult females become so dying that they can no longer cover with their conditions. Yet, none of their jobs are every bit simple as a instance of anxiousness caused by subjugation. The domination of the work forces in the lives of both adult females causes them to travel through certain mental phases, from naA?ve positions of their state of affairss, to more complex realisations of their anxiousnesss in which they lose their appreciation on world and their ain desires are pushed aside.

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Both adult females begin their narratives looking upon their state of affairss with naA?vete . As discussed by Dr. Wolfgang Kohler, “ There seems to be a individual starting point for psychological science, precisely as for all the other scientific disciplines: the universe as we find it, naA?vely and uncritically. The naA?vete may be lost as we proceed. Problems may be found which were at first wholly hidden from our eyesaˆ¦ the whole development must get down with a naA?ve image of the universe ” ( 3 ) . This naA?vete is precisely what is found when analysing the narratives of these two adult females.

The storyteller of “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” begins her narrative naA?vely yielding to everything her hubby tells her. She does non recognize that it is declining her status, nor does she recognize she is being oppressed. She states that “ aˆ¦congenial work, with exhilaration and alteration, would make [ her ] good ” ( Roberts 567 ) . John, nevertheless, insists on the complete antonym, stating she needs nil but remainder. She so waits impotently, trusting to acquire better, thought, “ what is one to make? ” ( Roberts 567 ) . The storyteller besides states that “ personally, [ she ] disagree [ s ] with their thoughts ” ( Roberts 567 ) , but this ne’er stops her from making precisely what the work forces tell her to make. This construct shows her naA?vete by exemplifying her recognition of a job, and her thought that in taking no action to repair it, and traveling against her ain ideas on the affair, her status will somehow better. As stated, she has thoughts about what she thinks would profit her, but she does nil to do these thoughts worlds, and falls victim once more and once more to the domination of her hubby.

At the gap of “ Hills Like White Elephants ” , Jig is merely every bit naA?ve as the adult female from “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” . She excessively tries to believe in everything the adult male says. She even asks, “ ‘And if I do it you ‘ll be happy and things will be like they were and you ‘ll love me? ‘ ” ( Roberts 346 ) . This is mentioning to acquiring an abortion and letting things return to normal. Jig is willing to make about anything to do things right, but in this instance the lone option is giving in to the adult male ‘s wants and acquiring an abortion. This is clearly a naA?ve manner to see things. She is willing to travel against what she believes, because in her head it is every bit simple as acquiring an abortion and everything being alright. She says things like, “ ‘aˆ¦But I do n’t care about me. And I ‘ll make it and so everything will be all right ‘ ” ( Roberts 346 ) . She struggles most because an abortion is non what she truly wants, which is made obvious by her petition for him to “ ‘aˆ¦ delight please delight halt speaking [ about the abortion ] ‘ ” ( Roberts 346 ) . At the same clip, she falls under his subjugation because the adult male truly does desire her to acquire the abortion. He ne’er states it outright, but he makes his point really clear by repeatedly conveying up the subject and depicting what a “ absolutely natural ” and “ terribly simple operation ” it is ( Roberts 345 ) . Because of her naA?vete , she takes this into consideration merely for a opportunity at repairing things. “ aˆ¦The whole development must get down with a naA?ve image of the universe ” ( Kohler 3 ) , and this is precisely where both of these adult females ‘s journeys have begun.

The following phase in the psychological procedure of these adult females is the realisation of their true anxiousness. Rollo May defines anxiousness as “ the apprehensiveness cued off by a menace to some value which the person holds indispensable to his being as a ego ” ( 72 ) . In this instance the value that is held indispensable to these adult females ‘s being is their control over their ain being. Both adult females are being pushed in opposite waies from what they want out of their lives by the work forces, and this is the chief cause for their apprehensiveness and anxiousness. The storyteller wants to be more active, but John tells her it will do things worse ; Jig does non desire to hold an abortion, but the American is coercing her to make so ( Roberts ) . “ The typical quality of human anxiousness arises from the fact that adult male is the valuing animate being, and being who interprets his life and universe in footings of symbols and significances, and identifies these with his being as a ego ” ( May 72 ) . Without being in complete control of their being as persons, these adult females seem to lose this value and significance May describes.

The storyteller of “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” , after traveling through her phase of naA?vete , eventually begins to recognize her true anxiousness. She goes from ideas like “ I am glad my instance is non serious ” ( Roberts 568 ) , to going more cognizant that her instance is so really serious. “ John does non cognize how much [ she ] truly suffer [ s ] . He knows there is no ground to endure, and that satisfies him ” ( Roberts 568 ) . The storyteller begins to see that she knows more about her status than her hubby, even if he is a physician. Recognizing that she is under his control, and does non hold much of a say in her ain province of being, she grows more and more dying, declining her status.

Jig finds excessively that everything is non every bit simple as it at first seemed in her naA?ve universe. In the beginning she states that, if she were to hold the operation, they “ could hold everything ” ( Roberts 346 ) . However, every bit shortly as the adult male agrees, she realizes how stupid the thought is. She declares that the universe is n’t theirs “ and one time they take it off, you ne’er acquire it back ” ( Roberts 346 ) . She passed the phase of naA?vete and came to recognize her true anxiousnesss. Previously, Jig had hinted at the thought that there was no value or significance in her life, stating, “ ‘aˆ¦That ‘s all we do, is n’t it- expression at things and seek new drinks? “ , but the existent truth of this takes consequence in the 2nd phase of her subjugation. She, like the storyteller of “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” , grows really dying about her whole state of affairs.

This accretion of anxiousness caused by the subjugation, so leads to other symptoms. “ [ The emotional form of anxiousness ] interferes with the normal behaviour of the single and may even disorganise turning away behaviour which would otherwise be effectual in covering with the fortunes ” ( Skinner 178 ) . The adult females become overwhelmed and can non suitably cover with their state of affairss.

As “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” progresses, it becomes more and more evident that the storyteller ‘s anxiousness overtakes her power to cover with her state of affairs. She draws more and more into herself and her captivation with the wallpaper, and creates a false image of world. She wholly convinces herself that there is a adult female life in the wallpaper, seeking urgently to acquire out from behind the bars in the form ( Roberts 573 ) . She besides sees adult females crawling outside of her window and admirations “ if they all came out of that wallpaper as [ she ] did ” ( Roberts 575 ) . She lets her anxiousness take away her appreciation on world, and she shrinks farther and farther from being able to competently trade with her state of affairs.

As “ Hills Like White Elephants ” progresses, Jig besides becomes more and more defeated to the point where she can no longer cover with her state of affairs. She becomes so aggravated at the treatment over the abortion that she threatens to shout if the American does non halt speaking ( Roberts 347 ) . Her anxiousness reaches the degree where she has to merely step back from the job and recuperate. She does non free touch every bit severely as the adult female from “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” , but however, she can non cover with her state of affairs efficaciously.

Because of their loss of constructs of world and ability to get by, the adult females are besides forced to force their desires aside for what the work forces want. Harmonizing to Jean Didier Vincent, “ aˆ¦more than demand, [ desire ] is possibly a feeling of deficiency, which is an expectancy or stimulation of demand ” ( 118 ) . These adult females both need to be in control of their lives, but the work forces involved make it progressively more hard for both of them. The adult females can non carry through their desires when their lives are filled with subjugation, anxiousness, and an of all time loosening clasp on world.

The storyteller of “ The Yellow Wallpaper ” wants to be active and take a proper life, but with her hubby forcing her down, and promoting nil but remainder, she finds this impossible. This is when she gives in wholly. She gives up everything but her authorship. Even though in the terminal she “ got out at lastaˆ¦in malice of [ John ] ” ( Roberts 576 ) , throughout the full narrative, she succumbed to everything John wished. She ne’er had existent control over her life, which was her one true desire.

Jig confronted this same job. She wanted to go on populating her life the manner it was, but she did non desire to hold an abortion, despite the American ‘s insisting on the affair. She ne’er gained existent control over her life either. When the American asked her if she felt better in the terminal, she replied, “ ‘I feel fineaˆ¦ There ‘s nil incorrect with me. I feel all right ” ( Roberts 347 ) . This statement merely represents her crumpling under subjugation, and giving up her desires of commanding her life.

“ The Yellow Wallpaper ” and “ Hills Like White Elephants ” are non merely simple narratives of male domination. When sing the psychological facets, these narratives reveal something much greater. These adult females are non merely incapacitated dolls under the control of work forces with no manner out. Psychology reveals the phases they endure, from naA?vete to realisation of their true state of affairss, but it besides reveals that these adult females have ideas and wants of their ain and want to be valued and meaningful human existences. It reveals their battles to carry through these enterprises, and the manner that their overpowering anxiousnesss pushed them farther down into the deepnesss of subjugation. It may besides uncover the hope that if anxiousnesss can be overcome, so excessively can oppression. Womans can suppress subjugation and finally be in control of their ain lives.


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