Power dynamics in The Cottagette & The Yellow Wallpaper

One thing that stands out in both The Cottagette & The Yellow Wallpaper is the types of relationships. In the story the Cottagette, Malda and Ford have an equal partnership.  “I was still too happy to think very clearly. I just sat and looked at
him. “But you want to marry me?” I said. “I want to marry you, Malda,–because I love you–because you are young and strong and beautiful–because you are wild and sweet and–fragrant, and–elusive, like the wild flowers you love. Because you are so truly
an artist in your special way, seeing beauty and giving it to others. I
love you because of all this, because you are rational and highminded
and capable of friendship,–and in spite of your cooking!””. Ford wanted to marry Malda because of who she was and what she loved to do. when he purposed he asked her not to cook because he realized it made her unhappy. She was shocked, Lois her friend told her if she wanted to keep a husband she needed to know how to keep a house which meant cooking and cleaning. Its wasn’t true in this chase.

In the story The Yellow Wall-Paper there is a controlling relationship. The husband, John is in control of his wife.  ““Better in body perhaps”—I began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look that I could not say another word.
“My darling,” said he, “I beg of you, for my sake and for our child’s sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so?”
So of course I said no more on that score, and we went to sleep before long. He thought I was asleep first, but I wasn’t,—I lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately. ” She can’t state what’s on her mind if her husband disagrees with what she’s saying. He tells her what to do and when to do it. she listens because she believes he’s this way because he loves her.

4 thoughts on “Power dynamics in The Cottagette & The Yellow Wallpaper

  1. Linh Ngo

    Yes, there is an obvious differences on how both relationship operated between the two story. I definitely thought the same about Malda and Ford relationship is more caring and equal between the two of them. While on the other hand John from “The Yellow Wallpaper” is still caring, but controlling what the narrator does at the same time, which makes it feel like John maybe be the causes of the narrator felt like she was trap, but at the same time it could be the causes of her obsession with wallpaper and patterns that causes her insanity. The Cottagette and The Yellow Wallpaper is definitely two different story base on how men treat women back during the old time period, and still share the romance part.

  2. David Peikrishvili

    Indeed, throughout the story “The Cottagette” we could see a real love relationship develop, which is probably one of the only stories we have read so far that this takes place (maybe). Instead of showing the power being in the hands of a man, here the narrator portrays power in a balanced way between Ford and Malda. In the “Yellow Wallpaper” the husband tries to help his wife by telling her to relax and putting her in a quiet room. Due to this the wife goes “mad” not knowing what to do and begin to lose her sanity.

  3. Yasmin

    The power dynamics in both relationships has to do with their perception of love. The relationship between Malda and Ford is authentic. They both put the needs of their partner first and communicate with each other. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the concept of love is a bit distorted. The narrator explains how much she loves him but she slowly realizes that the person who she was was the person he told her to be. Love in this relationship i suppose would mean protection. He felt that if he took her under his care that it would be called love. So that’s why he minimized the importance of anything it is she had to say.

  4. Jody R. Rosen

    We could think about these two relationships as points on a continuum of marital relationships, and then add the other relationships we have encountered this semester to see how they relate to one another. Is there any as equal? any as controlling? It would be an interesting way to compile the relationships we’ve read about.


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