In both The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin, the authors develop detailed yet ambiguous stories riddled with common themes, clever symbols, fitting settings and dramatic conflict, creating classics we can not only glean from, but also enjoy as an entertaining read. When analyzed, the two short stories seem to mirror each other’s purpose through a mutual theme communicated in each story. This, however, does not stop at just that. It actually carries over to not only the general setting, but also the conflicts at hand and symbols used by the pair of writers, creating a great example of two literary works that can be compared successfully despite the notable differences in age of the two works.
Though delivered in divergent ways, the themes presented by Gilman and Chopin are remarkably similar to one another. For example, In The Story of an Hour Mrs. Mallard’s distaste for her marriage is revealed much more explicitly than that of Jane’s distaste for her husband. This can be attributed to a large cultural shift in morals and ideals experienced from the 1890’s to the 1940’s. In Jane’s time, women’s roles in a marriage were much more subtle and often involved little to no questioning of their husbands superiority or decisions. This became ever so slightly forgotten as time as time went on and as women began to gain more rights, leading Chopin to write more sternly of Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts on her oppression. As one women slips into insanity and the other regains some of her sanity, a clear theme of the natural oppressiveness of marriage is revealed by both writers. Chopin writes about Mrs. Mallard’s freedom, stating “T...
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...is more direct with Jane’s description of her thoughts on John, stating “He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things” (Gilman, 238). Both authors representation of conflict are equal, however, it is not until further into the development of The Story of an Hour that we learn Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were actually at such odds. Unlike Chopin, Gilman informs the reader quite early of Jane’s power struggle with John. This is yet another example of how the two authors take differing paths while explicating a common goal.
In a comparison of Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper parallels arise throughout. Whether it be the theme, a certain symbol, the setting, or even a common conflict, both writer’s works are closely connected. Despite a 50 year gap between the
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