Women and Writing

The Mental Front

Though contextually deviant from one another, the voices of "Professions for Women" and "The Yellow Wallpaper" both embrace the same themes: the potential creativity and splendor of the female mind, and the oppression a woman must overcome to realize this potential. While also detailing her personal struggle in the field of writing, Virginia Woolf addresses the obstacles a woman faces in her path to mental unity, namely the burden of men and the female inclination to succumb to it. Charlotte Gilman portrays this struggle as an actual situation, as the narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" finds herself pitted directly against both her own mental affliction and the oppression of men, much as a Roman Gladiator would face the lions. Sadly, the narrator cannot overcome her personal "Angel of the House" as Woolf had; the obstacles decimate and devour her will and sanity. While Woolf slays her personal demons, the narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" confronts her own, and loses.

Viewed by Woolf as some sort of birth defect, the inhibiting factors of the female mind come standard with the birth of a woman. Woolf takes these factors, and balls them up into what she calls the "Angel...

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