The Yellow Wallpaper

Female Marginalisation Embodied in The Color Purple and The Yellow Wallpaper

Female marginalisation is a major theme in The Color Purple, with Celie’s emancipation from repressive male patriarchy being the culmination of the plot. When discussing the way narrative method and perspective are used within the novel to address these themes, it is useful to make comparisons and contrasts with a different text. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper was written almost a century before The Color Purple but shares similar themes of female repression by men, the major difference being that whilst Celie overcomes her restrainers, the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper is overwhelmed by them. Both authors tried to express this marginalisation through the form and style of the narrative; not simply through the development of the plot.

When looking at narrative method in The Color Purple, we are immediately drawn to the fact that it is written in epistolary form. Novels being made up of a series of letters has historically been a popular style with women authors, having been used by some of our earliest women writers including Aphra Behn and Mary Shelley. It offers a female author the chance to express the thoughts and actions of her characters without the medium of an omniscient narrator. This is...

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