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Gender Dynamics

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In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, the idea of women being subordinate to men is prominent. The main female characters are berated for their alleged incompetence and are subject to repression of their true selves. However, when the men are subjected to similar conditions, they prove to be much weaker than stereotypes would suggest. In both stories, the authors depict the ironies of conventional society to show how despite men’s perceived strength, women are really the stronger sex. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman paints a picture of a woman, Jane, whose husband and doctor have told her that she is sick, and she needs to do nothing but rest. Right from the start, the reader gets a clear image of the societal hierarchy. At the beginning, Jane doesn’t think she is sick, just suffering from a slight case of depression after having her first child, but her husband, John, says that she needs to rest a...

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