Hi everyone! Sorry I wasn’t in class today. I’m attempting to battle off a cold =(. Anyways, so I guess this is blog numero duex concerning whether a Marxist or Feminist approach would be more valid for me in reading “I Stand here Ironing” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”.
Honestly, and I’ve said this a few times to people in class, that I strongly feel as if the ideologies of Marxism and Feminism sort of merge in a few places. This is because I feel like there is not only just a class system in society, but in gender as well – which to me is more noticeable because there is only male and female. Well … sometimes male AND female, but I wont get too deep into a discussion about that one.
In Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing” themes of both Marxism and Feminism are very prominent. So much so that while I was attempting to read from a Marxist perspective I often paused and discovered I was reading too much into a Feminist perspective. Personally, however, I think that a Feminist approach is most valid for myself and my mindset – being a woman. While many institutions have been implemented in order to aid women in a like situation of Emily’s mother in ISHI (sorry, I’m abbreviating), unfortunately a lot of women still suffer in very much the same way. Raising a child alone, on poor wages, etc. etc. It’s a hard thing to look away from. On the other hand though, much of her suffering had to do with where she was in society, rather than the fact that she was a women. During the Depression of the 1930’s men and women alike suffered very similarly. While it could be argued that women, always being placed second rate next to a man, had a much more difficult time (i.e. lower wages than even a man received) one cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that men suffered as well. ISHR shows very clearly how society was failing to help so many people in need, while the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Or died. And it wasn’t until the mid-thirties that relief programs were founded in an attempt to get people jobs.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” I would have to say I would take a more Feminist approach of reading the story. The man, John, is very much in control of the woman’s life and situation throughout the story. But don’t forget you need to look at that as unbiased as possible. That was how men and women lived together during that time period, where the man would control .. well .. pretty much everything and the woman was to be a home-maker, squeeze out a few children and look pretty and that was it. However, situations like that these days get the feminists roaring. It’s difficult NOT to look at this story from a Feminist perspective. She is obviously ill and all he does is attempt to shut her in from the world. John claims it would be better for her health to get some fresh air and relaxation, but personally I think he’s just trying to hide her because he’s embarrassed, or that her condition may tarnish his own reputation because he’s a physician and can’t cure her. They obviously can’t take her out in public so they lock her away in this house and she eventually just loses her mind completely over this wallpaper. Attempting to free herself from the cage of not only her husband but her mind itself. She was trapped in every way imaginable.