Freedom is a subject that is not always granted. Freedoms can be categorized by physical, mental, or political states. In Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, freedom is being withheld in both characters’ situations. There are several roles that play a factor in why these characters cannot grasp freedoms of their own. In both “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow-Wallpaper”, the feminist movement is entrapped by society and is also being controlled by insecurities held by the characters at hand.
Women’s roles back then are not of those we have today. It was very uncommon for women to have duties and responsibilities as women of today have. In “The Story of an Hour” Mrs. Mallard is impaired by a physical ailment of her heart. Chopin writes “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (Chopin 1609). This is important because women of the time were labeled as weak or inferior to men. Low self-esteem, depression, and poor moods can be directly related to women’s roles at that time. The heart condition that Mrs. Mallard has could greatly be influenced by those reasons. One’s lack of feeling important and nothing else to do but sit around and worry about what is going on in the rest of the world can lead to serious physical or intellectual problems. After the death of her husband set in, she begins to feel overwhelmed by the idea that the power that has been over her has now vanished. Chopin writes, “she was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will-as powerless as her two white slende...
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... it represents the freedom that she has acquired and the traditions she has defeated.
The struggle these two characters went through is directly related to the struggle for women’s rights and the feminist movement. Physical ailments and mental conditions are associated with the problems that arose from traditions at the time that the story takes place. The heart condition and mental condition could have been brought on by customs and traditions of the females back then. In both “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow-Wallpaper”, the feminist movement is entrapped by society and is also being controlled by insecurities held by the characters at hand. Once they were able to begin to overcome the issues regarding their conditions, they begin to become more of an impact of society. Eventually, the traditions of women were surpassed by freedoms and these ideas hold today.
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