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Throughout history, there has been several incidents revealing how males can be superior to females. Males have been recognized to sometimes have an upper hand over women, because they may be better than them in some aspects. Some men, take advantage of this by belittling women. Dominant male roles can often be found in relationships, particularly marriage. Excellent examples of this can be found in the short stories “Celebration” by W. D. Valgardsen, and “Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gibson.
Both authors create dominant male characters, showing how husbands are superior to their wives. This creates hierarchy and therefore puts women below men, forcing them into a secondary role to the point where they have no control over themselves. The husbands in both stories play controlling roles, which belittles their wives. In “Celebration”, Eric takes full control in the relationship. He makes decisions for her, revealing the fact that he has the upper hand. Both Eric and Mabel love to drink alcohol.
Eric refuses to give Mabel more alcohol, deciding the rest would be solely for himself: “Mabel and he had shared the first half but then, seeing how quickly it was being used up, he had decided to keep the rest for himself. ” (Valgardson 60). He denies her having anymore, proving his word overrules hers. Their little house depended on heat from their fire place. Mabel asked Eric if he would go get more logs so they could keep the fire going, but he refuses and makes her do it: “Get it yourself. ” (Valgardson 61). He forces her to get the wood by herself, revealing that he does what he pleases, and Mabel listens to him.
Her role isn’t seen as much of a wife, rather than someone who just does what he says. As she goes to retrieve the wood, Eric locks her out in the freezing cold conditions: “A shadow obscured the light, then a board covered the hole and she knew that Eric was barring the window with a flashbox lid. ” (Valgardson 63). This action reveals his desire to have complete control over her by making her suffer. Eric’s desire to have the upper hand is made clear in the story through his revolting actions. Similarly, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” reveals a marriage that is ruled by one partner, instead of both.
Dr. Johns judgements takes away any opinion his wife may have about herself, as she struggles with a mental illness. He makes decisions that he believes will benefit his wife, and make her better. However, they just continue to make her condition worse and drive her to insanity. When the two arrive at their Summer house, the woman requests to have a room downstairs: “John would not hear of it. He said there was only one window, and not room for two beds. ” John is taking away her freedom of choice, forcing her to stay in the room of which he decides.
Her wants are not seen as important or evident, but Johns are. As time goes on, John only proceeds to get more controlling: “Indeed he started the habit by making me lay down for an hour before each meal”. He believes he knows what is best for her and he has it all figured out, but that is not true. He doesn’t take his wife’s opinion into consideration, he just goes about what he concludes to. The woman writes because she thinks that it helps her condition, but John thinks it’s a bad idea and pressures her to stop: “There comes John and I must put this away he hates to have me write a word. John not letting her write is stripping away her freedom completely. She can’t express herself, or state her opinion, which only makes her condition that much worse. John does not see that making decisions for her and controlling her is only going to be her downfall in the end. Both husbands actions show that they are completely dominant over their wives, forcing them into secondary roles. Rather than acting as an equal couple, both males take the reigns and make the decisions. The way the husbands perceive their wives has a powerful affect.
In “Celebration” Eric’s outlook on Mabel could be quite comparable to an animal, thereby removing her humanity. He often treats her like a misbehaving pet, punishing her physically: “The last time she had taken her eyes off him, he kicked her in the back of the leg. ” Eric doesn’t hesitate to use physical retribution, which takes away from her dignity. He orders her to do things, as an owner would to their pet: “Pick that up,’ he ordered. ” This could be a direction a trained animal could understand such as “Sit” or “stay. Eric leaves Mabel out in the furious winter storm, as if she was a dog left out in the backyard. Finally he decides to let her back into the house: “You’re okay, I decided to keep you. ” This is not any way a loving partner should be looked upon, it rather sounds like he is talking to a disobeying puppy. Valgardson shows the way a husband perceives his wife can very easily strip her of her dignity. John’s perception of his wife is not that of an animal, but rather a child. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, John does not treat the wife as the grown, independent woman she is.
This idea is introduced when John insists she stay in the room upstairs: “It was a nursery at first, then a playroom, and a gymnasium. ” Rather than putting her in an adult setting that would be more appropriate and fit for her, he chooses to put her in a room that is made for a child. John has a parental influence over her, and the woman observes this and makes note of it: “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction. ” This quality would be good if it was referring to a father-daughter relationship, but it is highly inappropriate for a husband-wife relationship.
John’s love and care is needed, but in different ways than just keeping an eye on her and making sure she doesn’t make any bad decisions. He speaks to her as if she is his child when he says: “Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose” She lets him take full control and comes to believe that she herself, is not very much known as a wife anymore. This puts John in high authority, making the woman’s status in the marriage way below his. Both Valgardson and Gilman prove how easy it is for males to just shut woman down and take complete control.