Freedom for Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Freedom for Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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Freedom for Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin


'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and 'The Story of an Hour' by Kate Chopin are two feminist works in which liberation is the overlying theme. Both of the main characters achieve freedom from their husbands' oppression in these short stories; however, freedom is only achieved through insanity in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and death in 'The Story of an Hour.' The women in these stories are viewed as very powerful, as they do whatever it takes to free themselves from the oppressive holds of their husbands. Their strength proves these two short stories very influential works of feminism.

Oppression is chief in the achievement of liberation in both short stories. Both of the narrators are oppressed by their husbands, and though they want to be happy, it is impossible due to the way they are treated by their spouses. In ?The Yellow Wallpaper,? John, the nameless narrator?s husband, confines his wife to a room with barred windows and hideous yellow wallpaper because she is ill. He does not allow her to exert herself physically or mentally, prevents her from seeing her friends and family and keeps her under intense scrutiny. While isolated in this room, she begins to go mad, believing that the wallpaper is somehow watching her, and eventually she believes she is a prisoner inside it. The narrator proves that her husband is oppressive when she reveals how afraid she is of him. She says, ?There comes John, and I must put this away?he hates to have me write a word? (Gillman 41).

Likewise, in Kate Chopin?s ?The Story of an Hour? it is perceived that the main character Louise Mallard is oppre...


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...reedom proves to be the overlying theme in ?The Story of an Hour? and death is the way in which freedom is achieved in the short story.

?The Yellow Wallpaper? and ?The Story of an Hour? are two feminist works that highlight the importance of freedom for women in the oppressive world of men. Freedom is not achieved normally in either of the short stories, but is gained through insanity and death. These two stories prove that women?s liberation is an extremely important issue, and the means by which these women gained their freedom is remarkable.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. (1894). 31 Apr. 2003. http://www.4literature.net/Kate_Chopin/Story_of_an_Hour/>

Gillman, Charlotte Perkins. ?The Yellow Wallpaper.? The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Stories of Charlotte Perkins Gillman. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1994.
PID 0230

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