Nurseries, Rooms, Kitchens: Comfortable Prisons

Date
2014-01-15
Authors
Holck, Jade
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892) , Susan Glaspell's "A Jury of Her Peers" (1917), and Doris Lessing's "To Room Nineteen" (1958) are stories that concern the entrapment of the female character either by her husband, her family, her physical house or sometimes by herself. Despite the difference of over sixty years between the earliest and the latest stories, all the authors repeat themes of enclosure, alienation, and identity. Each author offers a female character who rebels against her circumscribed role as a traditional female. But the women in these stories also demonstrate an ambivalence towards escaping the rooms, the kitchens, and the nurseries that represent their oppression within a male-centered world, making their "triumphant" escapes paradoxical.
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