Both Gilman's and Chopin's stories are, in effect, stories of women who feel "trapped" by the men in their lives. Gilman uses first person narration to reveal a woman's "creeping" loss of reality to her readers, while Chopin allows us to experience the joy Louise Mallard felt upon hearing of her husband's death through third person narration. Interestingly, neither story would have been able to reveal either woman's psyche to impact the reader as successfully as both did had their individual narrations been attempted through another form.
In "The Yellow Wallpaper," Gilman's point of view is expressed through first person narration, which provides her readers with brief glimpses into the other characters' perception of her and her perceptions of them (which essentially enlightens readers), as well as the main character's active dissemination of what is occurring in her mind. First person narration can at times be considered biased or naive within the context of their perceptions and projections of other characters. Not so with the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper." She seems to offer an almost unbiased perspective of husband John, which the reader notes from the beginning as she goes back and forth from justifying his attitude and behavior towards her--"Dear John! He loves me dearly, and hates to have me sick" (324)--to eventually becoming mistrustful of him: "The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John" (326). One ends up viewing John as completely oblivious yet superior in his lackadaisical attitude and treatment of his wife. Therefore one has little sympathy for John in the end (which I believe is also intended), when he finally realize...
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...r V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc. Simon Schuster/ A Viacom Company, 1998. 542-553.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "Why I Wrote 'The Yellow Wallpaper'" Ed. Catherine Lavender; The College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, Fall Semester, Oct. 1997. (25 Jan 1999) http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/whyyw.html
McChristie, Pat. "Women Need to Work" Copyright: 1998. Cyberwoman (30 Jan 1999) http://www.cyberparent.com/women/needwork.htm
Wyatt, Neal "Biography of Kate Chopin" English 384: Women Writers. Ed. Ann M. Woodlief Copyright: 1998, Virginia Commonwealth University. (26 Jan. 1999) http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/eng384/katebio.htm
"Why are Women Leaving Marriage in Droves?" Marriage. Copyright: 1998. Cyberwoman (30 Jan 1999) http://www.cyberparent.com/women/marriage1.htm
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