Symbolism Of An Hour And The Yellow Wallpaper

Symbolism Of An Hour And The Yellow Wallpaper

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Historically, the term feminism and its revolutionary nature are attributed to a majority of the twentieth century.1 While the epicenter of feminism for women, indeed, had its place during that time, certain female writers from the nineteenth century shed the roots of the movements through the pages of their fiction tales. By opposing to the expectations of womanhood and implicitly rebelling against the phallocentrism of literature in the portrayal of females, Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman utilize symbolism to criticize the injustices of their time. Furthermore, through the analysis of the formalistic scope, Chopin’s narratives “The Story of an Hour” and “The Storm,” along with Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” exemplify the epitome of these ideals.
Despite Chopin not being considered a formal feminist during her time alive, it is believed that her stories pertain to the field of the historical phenomenon. “The Story of an Hour,” serves as an instance of this assertion. Beginning with its introductory narrative, the tale describes a weak woman with a fragile heart who has allegedly lost her husband, Bentley Mallard, and must bear with the news. Mrs. Mallard, a symbol for all oppressed and stereotypically profiled women, rejects the expectations of her femininity by feeling joy at the news that Josephine reveals to her. The death of her husband has symbolically given her life. Moreover, she accepts this unfortunate event as a renewal of her life; no longer the shadow of a man, she becomes Louise and ceases being Mrs. Mallard: Bentley Mallard’s Asset. Her satisfaction is represented by the quote, “… the tops of trees were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (Chopin 213).

... middle of paper ... independent and has stopped being the shadow of a man for a while. She goes back to her “maiden days,” as an individual, and she enjoys it. It almost seems as if, according to the use of the word “conjugal,” Clarisse may be going through an episode of a sexual storm as well. Lastly, Chopin’s last line always closes the story and reveals an imperative meaning, as the storm passed and everyone is happy the sexual desire is sated and everything is normal.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman creates a defenseless, almost entirely naïve, woman to represent some of the problems of femininity and being a woman in the nineteenth century. In her story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman utilizes symbolism and repetition to highlight the lack of opportunities and defenseless state, due to society, of Jane –another universal allegory for women, a mere representation of their oppression.

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