The Yellow Wallpaper and the Revolt of Mother Compared

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The role of women in society has changed dramatically over the centuries from women being inferior to men, to women gaining autonomy. The issue of gender roles has also changed over time; where in the late 1800’s males dominated the workplace and home, to women now acquiring more independence and self-worth. This paper will discuss the similarities of themes between the two short stories of “The Revolt of Mother” by Mary E Wilkins Freeman and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Through each of these short stories the literary elements of style, symbolism, and irony will be discussed, impacting the theme in various ways. Over time, the role of women in society continues to change, shaping each individual into a new era of freedom and rights.

“The Revolt of Mother” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” both share a similar issue of the portrayal of women in which she is being undermined by her husband continuously, leading to rebellion where they break the rules of society in order for their voices to be heard. Both short stories show the inferior social status and roles of women in the late nineteenth century, making this period a male-dominated society. In the late nineteenth century, women knew their place and were dependent upon their husbands. They must cater to them, cook, clean, care for the children, and please the husband in any way possible. In both stories the women follow their husband’s wishes and demands, until finally they can’t take it anymore. “The Yellow Wallpaper” demonstrates freedom and independence when the narrator liberates herself to tear down the wallpaper, freeing herself, as well as completing her descent into insanity. In “The Revolt of Mother”, Sarah’s freedom begins when she finally decides to move her family into the barn, where she takes a stand against her authoritarian husband. Throughout both of these short stories, it shows the reader how society viewed women, how they were expected to act, and how they were treated...
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