The Yellow Wallpaper Via American Horror Story

678 words - 3 pages

"The Yellow Wallpaper", written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an interesting short story that tells the events of a wife as she is removed from her normal life in hopes to cure her so-called illness. Her husband puts her into a new house that he proclaims will help her illness, however his methods have the complete opposite effect. This story is very similar to the first season of a television show called "American Horror Story," where the Harmon family moves into a new mysterious house that takes advantage of the family, especially the wife, Vivien. In The Yellow Wallpaper," the wife projects herself as a woman "trapped" in the wallpaper, which is similar to the numerous souls trapped in the house and Vivien's feeling of the houses possession over her. Also in both the short story as well as the show the husband and wife are portrayed in parallel ways, experienc ...view middle of the document...

She starts begging to her husband, and reaching out to other characters proclaiming that she is seeing figures around the house, but no one listens. This is the beginning of her alienation. In both works, the husbands are distinguished Doctors, which add to the hegemony of medicine and "the doctor always being right" notion. No matter how hard either woman try to explain their side of the story, they get labeled as ill or disturbed. Similar to the wife in the Yellow Wallpaper, Vivien begins feeling ostracized spending less time with her family and more time alone consumed by the house. Neither her husband nor daughter truly believe what she says, and Ben, being a knowledgeable psychiatrist insists that Vivien is suffering from neurosis and is in no way capable of watching over their children. Despite her strong will, she is stripped of her agency, labeled as crazy, and is forced to live in an asylum all because of a false diagnosis made by her husband. This alone is a huge correlation between "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "American Horror Story."Towards the end of the series after Vivien's strong-willed nature is deteriorated, there is a scene between her and the housemaid Moira that directly mentions "The Yellow Wallpaper." Vivien, who is now completely distant from her husband and daughter, pleads to Moira that she isn't crazy and her husband's diagnosis is wrong. Moira responds with a quote that relates Vivien's situation and the androcentric behavior of her husband directly to the wife in the short story. She also describes how gender roles and the hegemony of doctors have played a part in both works. "Since the beginning of time, men find excuses to lock women away. They make up diseases, like hysteria. Do you know where that word comes from? The Greek word for "uterus." The only possible cure was hysterical paroxysm. Orgasms. Doctors would masturbate women in their office and call it medicine." Both women fall victim to the hegemony of doctors, are wrongly diagnosed, and pleading to get out of the house, however the androcentric values of men trap the woman there.

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