Compare & Contrast Mrs. Mallard, "The Story of an Hour" to Jane, "The Yellow Wallpaper"

1108 Words Jan 28th, 2007 5 Pages
Diverse authors use diverse strategies to catch a reader's attention. Both Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman were women ahead of their time; they wrote stories that were socially unacceptable but are now considered some of the greatest. In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard, dies of a heart attack after hearing of her husband's death. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" with a blasphemous plot at the time: a woman, Jane, bedridden because of depression, begins to see a woman underneath the wallpaper of her rented mansion. By the end of the story, Jane believes that she is the woman under the wallpaper. In both stories, the diseased and doubted women enclose serious mental and …show more content…
The doubt and misconstruction placed upon the women in the stories is a huge factor in the way their characters develop. Mrs. Mallard's sickness was misdiagnosed by both her family and doctor. They believed she suffered from heart problems but no evidence of this was produced during the story. When Mrs. Mallard was up in her room, her sister, Josephine, was worried that Mrs. Mallard would make herself ill because she was alone and suffering from her husband's death. Chopin gives the reader an insight as to Mrs. Mallard's thoughts by using a third person limited omniscient narrator, and by doing so, allows the reader to understand that Mrs. Mallard's family's ideas of her health were false. Near the end of the story the doctors and Mrs. Mallard's family believe that she has had a heart attack because she was happy to see that her husband was alive, while in actuality, she died because didn't want to live if she had to live with him.
Jane's illness was also doubted by her family. Jane writes that her husband "does not believe I am sick!" (Perkins Gilman 424) though she does not mention her concerns on the subject with him. Jane is upset because John, "a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one" (425). Her brother, also a doctor, agrees with John's report on Jane. John even comments that Jane "shall be as sick as she pleases" (430). Jane continues to hear
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