Oppression of Women in Chopin's Story of an Hour and Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper

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Oppression of Women in Chopin's Story of an Hour and Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman share the same view of the subordinate position of women in the late 1800's. Both stories demonstrate the devastating effects on the mind and body that result from an intelligent person living with and accepting the imposed will of another. This essay will attempt to make their themes apparent by examining a brief summery of their stories and relating them to their personal histories. It will reveal this theme further through analysis of setting, visual and conceptual symbolism, and by exploring the relationships between the characters in each story. In the…show more content…
No doubt, she drew on the strength she gained from witnessing her mother?s self-sufficiency. She also drew on her own experiences of being able to do things for herself (Wyatt). Similarly, Gilman drew on a powerful event in her life. She suffered from a "severe and continuos nervous breakdown tending to melancholia" (Gilman). A famous physician prescribed the "rest cure" which she claims nearly drove her insane. She wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" as a way of protesting his methods (Gilman). The main setting of both stories occurs in a room; however, these two rooms have very contrasting atmospheres. In Chopin?s story the light and peaceful environment depicted by the author promotes the concept that Louise is beginning a new and wonderful life after being told of the death of her husband, releasing her from his imposing will. She sinks into a comfortable armchair facing an open window. The trees are "aquiver with new life," the smell of rain is in the air, and a woman is singing. On the other hand, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is set in a room that evokes the impression of imprisonment. There are bars on the windows, a gate at the top of the stairs, "rings and things" in the walls, and the pattern in the wallpaper reminds her of bars with a woman trapped behind them. Even the bed is nailed to the floor. This setting helps Gilman to impart her theme of oppression of women in marriage. The relationships between the characters in each of the
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