Comparing The Story of an Hour, by Kate Chopin and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Comparing The Story of an Hour, by Kate Chopin and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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"The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and "The Story of an Hour", by Kate Chopin are two very similar stories. Both women were controlled by their husbands who caused them to feel an intense desire for freedom. However, the women in the stories had different life experiences and different reactions to their own freedom as a result of their different personalities.
Mrs. Mallard in "The Story of an Hour" had to deal with a sort of burden. Her husband had control over her "body and soul". She felt that he lived her life for her and did "not believe that anyone had the right to impose a private will on a fellow creature" (Chopin). This control caused her to long for freedom from her husband's harsh behavior. Mrs. Mallard didn't know she was oppressed until she believed she was free. Mrs. Mallard?s love for her freedom is so strong that when she is given the news of her husband?s death, she relieved that ?there would be no one to live for her during those coming years, she would live for herself? (Chopin). She yearns to live her own life without someone being there to dictate her every thought and action. She wants to live her own life and make her own decisions without being under the constant scrutiny of her husband.
But, in ?The Story of an Hour? Mrs. Mallard?s change was that her husband died, and her reaction went from grief to joy and then back to grief again. When she was initially told of her husband?s death, ?she wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment? (Chopin). But, her grief was short lived. She soon was overcome with the joy that her husband would no longer control her. ?Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her o...


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...he Yellow Wallpaper? the narrator?s change was in her environment, and her reaction went from grief to joy. She was forced to live in a dreary room with barred windows and wallpaper she despised. She was practically imprisoned in the room, in order to allow her to rest and recover. Initially she hated the room she was confined in, especially the wallpaper. But, towards the end of the story she began to like the wallpaper and spent every waking moment looking at it. She says, ?You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch? (Gilman).
It is apparent that the husband?s control over their wives, and the wives intense desire for freedom from the men in their lives is something that is common in the time period that these stories took place. It leaves one to wonder, are these women victims of the times, and therefore pioneers for women?s equality?

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