An-Najah University Journal for Research - B (Humanities)


Drawing on Raewyn Connell’s concept “hegemonic masculinity” and engaging the critical line of feminism, this article argues that Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” unearths the institutional dynamics that sustain the masculine hegemonic discourse. This article reads this short story as counter-hegemony, the narrator of which critiques what Gramsci called “manufacture of consent”, wherein ideas and beliefs are shaped, and hegemony is reproduced, through culture. We argue that Gilman accounts for the ways in which gender hierarchy is maintained through consent rather than force, and she endorses a struggle over ideas and beliefs to create counter-hegemony that contests socially-constructed dominant ideas and beliefs. This article therefore demonstrates the narrator’s counter-hegemonic practices that allow for self-representation and positional autonomy. The article further illustrates ways in which these practices shape coherent female community that aims to subvert patriarchal power and undermine gendered binary structures. It concludes that the story anticipates the transformation of women from the periphery to the centre; it instructs the counter – mechanisms that women need to use to subvert authority and invent their own world.