Balls, formal dinners, and social gatherings dominate people’s view of the nineteenth century. Upper-class women lived a life of splendor and grandeur, and the white, gentle hands of those women hardly lifted to do any work. Most would strive to attain such a life because of its outward appearance; however, masked behind the smiles and parties, suppression ran high. Men dominated their households, and they repressed their wives. Life did not live up to the expectation of many women as they struggled against the controlling and authoritative male figures in their lives.
The same holds true for the women in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. These stories delve into the life of two different, but similar nineteenth century women. Through the women 's differing relationships with their husbands and the suppression presented by their husbands, internal conflicts emerge. The two leading females experience repression from their husbands in their daily routines. Throughout her life, Mrs. Louise Mallard, from “The Story of an Hour,” had continually bent her will to that of her husband’s. In the past, she had no choice in what she did, so she found her husband’s death liberating. However, her joy did not last long as her husband returned safely home, and consequently she died of a heart attack. Likewise, the unnamed narrator from “The Yellow Wallpaper” endured the ever-watchful and patronizing eyes of her husband, John. He dictated all of her actions in hope of her recovering from her “nervous depression.” This scheduled prescription did not help the narrator, and in turn she became insane. Both of these women experienced turmoil due to their...
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...d it to take over inside, and it completely broke lose, similar to Mrs. Mallard’s internal conflict. She went completely insane. She claimed, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane.” This quote implies that she had felt refrained by her husband, but that she escaped it. She became figuratively dead to her old life, like Mrs. Mallard who literally died because of her internal conflict.
The nineteenth century created numerous problems for women. Due to the social norm, men dominated the household. They controlled everything that happened in the world around them, and thus women complied with their orders. This lack of freedom often led to intensifying internal turmoil. In “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” two women endure suppression from their husbands which leads to the emergence of differing internal conflicts that take over their lives.
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