The story was written by a woman called Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the 1900’s, the author was trying to show what the attitudes of men to women at that time were like and what they basic roles of women were with their fight to get equality with men. Gilman was treated badly mostly by men in her life due to one of the facts being that her father left her and her mother when Charlotte was young, therefore she wrote this story. She was a feminist; therefore this is a feminist tale. She was an early one due to the fact there weren’t many feminist authors at that time.
CPG fought for the education of woman and felt they had a right to stand up and go against men. So basically the story is about the “turning” of women on men, where two women were betrayed and humiliated by one man and went out of their way to prove him wrong. CPG thought that women and men should be equal in all ways. She saw men treat her badly when she was young and she decided to turn on them and prove her worth. In the story she starts that Mrs. M was a highly educated person who had a PHD in college, so this depicts that CPG wanted women to have a fair education just like men instead of them becoming housewives.
When CPG was little her father left her and her mother which left both of them in great debt. From that point on CPG became a stronger person, which to aspire to become a feminist, to stand up to the likes of men, it was this strength in which she most likely created the character Mrs. Marroner who at the end of the story shows herself as a powerful woman by leaving her husband and her husband being the weak person due to the fact that he was going to go back to his wife to plead for forgiveness. CPG basically wanted to see men and women on the same levels.
When we first meet Mrs. Marroner we know that she is a wealthy person because of the surroundings she lives in for example her “Elaborate dress” and her “Soft carpeted, thick-curtained, and richly furnished” chamber. Which in contrast to Gerta is very high since Gerta only had a small room without the luxuries due to the fact that she is just a servant in the house (which also proves that Mrs. M is rich. ) Mrs. M is somewhat depicted as an independent character who is usually seen as working on her own and getting on by herself.
She tries not to think of the worse since when she read the letter from her husband that had the 50 dollars in it; she thought that somehow that she had got the wrong letter. She is then deeply shocked when she finally realizes that the letter was actually for Gerta, and when she reads it figuring out that Gerta was actually pregnant, most of her sorrow turns to rage and her main instinct is to throw Gerta out of the house since Gerta had an affair with her husband.
She then understands that this evidently was not Gerta’s fault and was her husbands since Gerta was always trained to be obedient and follow orders, so most likely she was forced into having sex with her husband so Mrs. M decides to think rationally about this and decides not to throw Gerta out of the house and recognizes her as a “victim” and therefore ignores her first emotional reaction towards finding out the truth behind this. We then realize that the two women are loving, trusting and affectionate and were the victims of a man’s callous actions which led them both into sorrow and also having highly emotional reactions at each other.
Mrs. M asks herself rhetorical questions such as “how could she refuse? ” and this shows that Mrs. M does not blame Gerta for what has happened. As Mrs. M forces herself to “extenuate” Gerta’s misdeed condemnation for her husband. Because he deliberately took advantage of Gerta’s trust and service. Mr. M is described as a thief who had chosen to rob Gerta of life’s best joys. At around line 202 there is flood imagery which indicates Mrs. Marroners realization that what has happened is another example of the sin of man against women, which is another example of how badly women were treated around that time period.
After recounting all these events that has happened, she decides to make the decision to leave the house and take Gerta with her since they were both betrayed by a man. When Mr. M comes home, he is shocked to find that both Mrs. M and Gerta are gone, he is “Completely dazed” he doesn’t seem aware of the fact that they could have left him and therefore is selfishly thinking of himself and women as being unsuccessful without men around. He has also completely forgotten about Gerta, even though he made all those empty promises in the letter that he sent her awhile ago.
Mr.M looks all around the house trying to look to see if there is any trace of his wife but the rooms redounded him because of her “like the remote simile on the face of the dead. ” This indicates that their marriage is dead! This is reinforced by the simile describing the lawyer who brings Mrs. M’s message as being called on “To kill something offensive. ” Mr. M also thinks of them as being dead before actually thinking of the scenario where she actually left him instead, and then we realize that actually Mr. M has lost by his weakness here. When we go back to see Gerta and Mrs.M we find that Gerta has turned into a more confident, intelligent woman.
She compared to the Madonna – a powerful female role model and Mrs. M has turned to feel “impersonal” towards Mr. M and this is a very big turning point for the characters in the story with the two main women in the story becoming successful and leaving the man behind in the dust. We see that Mrs. M has managed to get a job teaching people and that she also has a small house in which she makes a decent living in. Gerta also has a good living with Mrs. M. We also see that Mrs.
M has decided to go by her maiden name now instead of her married name to show that she is “detaching herself from her husband. ” Gerta is contrasted heavily towards Mrs. M; this basically shows the two sides of women at this time period. Gerta has no education whatsoever and is not rich; she is also taken advantage of and very nai?? ve throughout the story until the end. Gerta comes into the story as a servant character, and is very young. We think that probably she is trying to make money for her family to live or she is trying to earn money to get an upbringing for herself, which we see can be damaged when she becomes pregnant.
She would have been thought of as an ideal woman because she is uneducated and not independent so it would be easy to give her orders. Gilman emphasizes that Gerta is a young person. This is so that we can see that she is young and nave and not to blame for some of the events that happen in the story that concern her. It is also a way of showing that her mind is young and can be changed due to the fact that she is still young and learning how to make her way in the world, most likely to be taught my Mrs.Marroner.
Because of the events that happen in the story, it is evidently that Gerta is taken advantage by the main man in the story and is made pregnant by him that would damager her chances of still keeping a job in the house even though it was not exactly her fault. This is suggested by the fact that Gerta is young and doesn’t know what is the right thing to do, she is really only just following the orders that she has been given so that she can continue doing her job, the fact that Mr.Marroner should know better because he is in a position of responsibility over Gerta and should be providing a father figure towards Gerta instead of telling her to do something that could provide problems for her in the future, he shouldn’t have taken advantage of her.
Then at the end of the story, Mrs. Marroner decides to leave the house with her and teach her how to become a stronger person towards men. The two women show solidarity as women in the story’s ending. Mr.
Marroner is the main man in the story, he is used a symbol to represent the patriarchal society at the time and way in which men were dominant over women and used and under minded them at the time. Even though he was the cause for most of the events in the story, he isn’t really given a part in the story until the end, though we are told a lot about what he has done and what he has done towards the two women in the story. But other than that he is away for most of the story and even then when he comes into the story and actually talks he isn’t given a huge part in talking.
Gilman makes it clear that Mr. Marroner is attracted to Gerta when he sees her, because for one thing she is young and innocent so she is practically an easy target for him seeing as she has to basically obey what he tells her to do. Gilman here is highlighting the arrogance of men to openly admire and take advantage of women even when they are married which encourages them to cheat. Clearly Mr. Marroner takes advantage of Gerta and then makes false promises in a letter he sent to her claming that he would take care of her (when he wouldn’t).
And then Mr.Marroner is so full of himself that the last thing on his mind, and that he expects is for his wife to leave him. The message that Charlotte was trying to get through to the readers in this story was that women were treated badly in the 1900’s and that society was bad, women were treated as 2nd class citizens and not given proper rights, men also took advantage of women and left them to suffer when they didn’t want them anymore. Women in Victorian times were underrated and this story was basically to show that society was bad and women should have been treated better.