Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and William Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud all have women’s inferiority to men as a central theme.
In The Birthmark the wife, Georgiana was fine with her appearance until her husband said something about the tiny birthmark on her cheek. Without his comment she would have gone through life thinking herself to be beautiful and the birthmark as unique. Too often women take what men say as ultimate truth, and because of male dominance in society for so long women turn submissive and lose themselves. Men are insecure and in this story the husband took his imperfections and insecurities as a doctor out on his wife which ultimately caused her death. If he could have seen the beauty in her imperfections as well as in his work, his life could be whole and with love in it.
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper the husband dominated the wife again. If the husband would have listened to the wife, she may have gotten out of the room that ultimately drove her insane. The creeping woman in the wallpaper symbolizes women in general who have to creep around to be themselves because they allow men to dominate them. The wife constantly crept around at night because in the daylight hours her husband dominated. This is reflective of life for some women even today. Women must go around and find different alternatives to become successful because men dictate what happens and in order to still be looked at as a woman, ladies must conform to the male society as well find different ways to have power over themselves and possess self worth.
In William Wordsworth’s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud the daffodils represent women and if they would stand together would be powerful and beautiful to the point where they can move men as they flowers moved the speaker in the poem.