Literary movements

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was associated with two literary movements during her time: Realism and Naturalism. Realist authors preferred to develop characters that resemble ordinary people. Characters are not heroes fulfilling some great task, but rather people fighting with real challenges anyone could relate to.

The main hint that the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman  is influenced by Realism is in the opening lines: “It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer” (p. 3, ll. 1-2). From the start, we find out that the spouses are ‘ordinary’ typical people in the 19th century. Throughout the story, this ordinariness is further suggested by the fact that John acts in a way that is typical for a middle-class physician, including in the treatment of his wife.

Naturalist writers tended to focus on how society decided who a person should be. They are also more inc...

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