• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Repression of Women in Victorian Society as Shown in 19th Century Literature

Extracts from this document...


The Repression of Women in Victorian Society as Shown in 19th Century Literature. 19th century literature reflects to a certain extent, several ways in which women were repressed in Victorian society. They were considered inferior to men, and given a stereotypical image, showing them as gentle, loyal and angelic. They were rejected of any personal opinions or independence, for these were only a man's privilege. Class and status also affected women of the era. Evidence for these and further repressions can be found in the short stories of 19th century writers. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote 'The Yellow Wallpaper', which relates partially to her own personal experiences as a woman under her husbands overwhelming influence. Charles Dickens' story 'The Black Veil' also displays a view on women, as does 'The Monkey's Paw' by W. W. Jacobs, which can be portrayed as a male-dominated narrative. Comparisons and contrasts can be made between these two novels, and 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. ...read more.


'The Black Veil' can also relate to this ignorant attitude. From this story, a na�ve 'young medial practitioner, is the narrative, ignoring the suffering of a distraught woman, for he feels he knows best. As well the doctor seeks a wife who will 'gladden his lonely fireside, and stimulate him to fresh exertions', just as the physician in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' who wishes to have an obedient and proper wife. Here we can see that women were secondary in a household, as the dominant males need them for their accompaniment and to understand and obey their proposals. 'The Monkey's Paw' another male-dominated narrative, shows the wife's characteristics and role in the household. We are firstly told that she is 'knitting placidly by the fire'. This is a very proper and feminine activity of the time, and the word 'placid' shows that she is calm and relaxed. She also refers to Mr. White as 'dear' and is soothing in her reassuring words, 'perhaps you'll win the next one', as if to simply make him feel comfortable and content. ...read more.


The story shows the suffering of lower class women, who are left without any aid, in 'denial' and 'anxiety'. We can also see the woman in the 'Yellow Wallpaper' left with only her own imagination and the wallpaper, making her rebel mentally against her husbands influence, so he eventually becomes 'that man', instead of John. He 'stopped short by the door' when he saw her improper state, he had lost his dominant stature, for he could no longer have any power over her actions or thoughts. The stories altogether show that Victorian women were very much under the influence of men and their suggestions in their thoughts and actions. They were also taught to have certain qualities, expected of them by men. Several 19th century stories however, although showing this perception of women, have contributed to an alteration of attitudes towards women. Writers such as Dickens and Charlotte Perkins Gilman have helped provide 20th century women onwards, with a fairer, equal society, by highlighting female repression in their stories. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lucy Mitchell ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Review of The Monkeys Paw

    He then told them about some magic, a magic charm, which he had in his pocket. The old man was very interested, and wanted to hear everything, but the soldier was reluctant.

  2. Discuss how at least three authors during the mid to late Nineteenth Century explore ...

    This however leads to conflict with those around her. The main difference between the conflict in this story and in "The Parvenue" is that this type of conflict had come from just complete jealousy. Both the stories "To Please his Wife" and "The Half-Brothers" are quite similar as they are

  1. Discuss the main themes of the story, in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's

    Throughout the early stages of the book the wife expresses her fear of John indirectly to the reader. She seems to have many ideas of ways that she thinks will improve her condition but at the end of it dismisses these ideas as she doesn't think John would approve.

  2. With reference to at least two pre-twentieth century stories, describe the portrayal of women.

    The only problem is that she does not love William Preston but it seems as if the offer of marriage is too good to refuse. Indeed it was too good to refuses and she and William Preston were married. This situation again highlights the need of a woman for a husband.

  1. Did Attitudes Towards the Status of Women and Marriage Change in the Late- Middle ...

    the late Middle Ages that would not have been imagined any earlier. Women were seen to take control of the household and hold an equal share of the responsibility within the home. Although their aging husbands may have to show them how to run their household, it was down to the lady to see that everything gets done.

  2. Creative writing - The Disappearance.

    But her reluctance went beyond womanly modesty. After dinner for instance, she would start on the most convoluted household projects, soaping down the floors, changing the liners in the cabinets. The night before she had disappeared she'd started cleaning the windows, taking out the Window cleaner and rags as soon as she'd put the boy to bed, even though he had mumbled, "Let's go."

  1. In this essay I am examining the three short stories "Turned" written by Charlotte ...

    She did not agree for a long-time. Finally she gave her acceptance. She did not care to think about the risks involved in the voyage. Other way round she logically satisfied that 'the young men might accompany their father. Writer compared Joanna's character with Emily throughout the story.


    She was never a 'jealous woman' she studied in university where she 'held a PhD' and became a 'teacher' before she was married. Gilman shows that Mrs. Marroner had a very good educational background. Mrs. Marroner had a 'good relationship' with Gerta.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work