Oppression of Women in 19th Century Literature

1564 WordsMar 13, 20137 Pages
Oppression of Women in 19th Century Literature In the stories “The Jewelry” by Guy de Maupassant, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the female characters are unequal and less important than the men in society. The duties of women during this time period did not consist of much more than seeing to her husband’s needs and caring for the home and children. The authors show the lack of independence women were allowed in the 1800s, especially in marriage. The stories express women’s cry for equality and their feelings of entrapment in their marriage. Each story elaborates on the importance of social class in the 19th century, how women were presented in society, and how society…show more content…
In the midst of her grieving, Mrs. Mallard pictures the time that is to come, when she will be able to make all of her own decisions and will be given the freedom to live her life as she pleases. Suddenly, she feels relieved more than she is upset. “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death…but she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely (Booth 307). Her desire for freedom overcame the despair of her husband’s death. Chopin includes that Mrs. Mallard tried to fight off these ideas with her will (Booth 307). Her embraced feelings of independence could have been viewed as forbidden. Although she is excited by these thoughts, she tries to resist the pleasure she truly feels when she realizes the freedom that she has gained. The words “free, free, free!” escaped from her mouth (Booth307). She attempted to hold back the overwhelming desires for her own life. Perhaps she is hesitant to welcome these feelings because of the public view on women’s rights, and the potential consequences for those who opposed such views. Despite the faithfulness and love Mrs. Mallard showed for her husband, the extreme relief she felt in no longer having a marital obligation overpowered her feelings of sadness and loss. At the end of the story, Mrs. Mallard’s husband walked through her front door in the flesh, but Mrs. Mallard’s heart could not handle the excitement. The
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