Oppression of Women Through “the Yellow Wallpaper” and “the Story of an Hour”

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Both Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” show a shocking view of dominate marriage. In both stories marriage is a prison and women are treated like children, stifled, smothered and absorbed (lose their own identity). These three things represented in both of the stories lead to horrific consequences.

In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin vividly expresses her belief that marriage is a prison. After Mr. Mallard “died” in the story, Louise (his wife) comes to the realization she is “free.” Mrs. Mallard thinks to herself, “there would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (2). This explains imprisonment very well in that in the nineteenth century, when this story was written, men had a very powerful will that they forced upon their wives which makes wives less like partners and more like slaves or prisoners. This caging of spouses, which was common in the nineteenth century, continues in today’s world as well. Often, men see their wives as someone who is just supposed to clean up after them or feed them dinner. Not only does Chopin successfully express imprisonment in marriage, but Charlotte Perkins Gilman does the same in her story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a very symbolic story that has multiple meanings, the main of which is women’s oppression by their husbands represented by the yellow striped wallpaper. An obvious hint of John’s (the main character’s husband) controlling nature is when the main character writes in her diary that “John does not know how much I suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him” (207). A more symbolic reference, on the other hand, to the oppression is when the main character finally decides she sees a woman behind the...
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