Women have traditionally been known as the less dominant sex. Through history women have fought for equal rights and freedom. They have been stereotyped as being housewives, and bearers of children. Only with the push of the Equal Rights Amendment have women had a strong hold on the workplace alongside men. Many interesting characters in literature are conceived from the tension women have faced with men. This tension comes from men, society, in general, and within a woman herself. Two interesting short stories, “The Yellow Wall-paper" and “The Story of an Hour," focus on a woman’s fix near the turn of the 19th century. This era is especially interesting because it is a time in modern society when women were still treated as second class citizens. The two main characters in these stories show similarities, but they are also remarkably different in the ways they deal with their problems and life in general. Note the similarities and differences of the two characters. Although the two characters are similar in some ways, its shown that the woman in the “The Story of an Hour” is a stronger character based on the two important criteria of rationalism and freedom.
In “The Yellow Wall-paper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the unnamed female protagonist is going through a rough time in her life. The narrator is confined to a room with strange wall-paper. This odd wall-paper seems to symbolize the complexity and confusion in her life. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard must also deal with conflict as she must deal with the death of her spouse. At first there is grief, but then there is the re...
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...ed with a heart trouble” (Chopin 70), The narrator in ‘Wall-paper had too many personal problems with herself and with her relationship with John to be called a strong character.
There are many similarities between these two women in these two short stories. Due to the fact that they live in the same era, they face similar circumstances. They are both married and have domineering husbands. Also, in some way they both struggle for their rationality, however, Mrs. Mallard succeeds best in doing so. Both are confined to their reality, but the narrator in ‘Wall-paper’ falls into a worse - the wallpaper obsession. Overall, even with a relatively short life, Mrs. Mallard is a stronger character because she is more rational and freer. In sum, she has a more sane life and makes the most of what she has.
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