Women’s Marriage Lives in the Nineteenth Century

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Bally Chiu
Professor Christy Brown
English 1B Section: 17871 
14 March 2012

Women’s marriage lives in the nineteenth century
During the nineteenth century, when suffragist movement had started to seek for equality and freedom of women, great female authors such as Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman were writing stories to describe their marriage lives in a very simple yet interesting way. They did not just talk about themselves, but also speak out the situations and feelings of other class of women had during those time. Woman during those time did not have an easy life, especially the society was a place where male were more powerful and stood in a more high class standing compare to woman. Too many restrictions posed on woman and they were treated with a lot of unfairness and injustices. Many of them struggle in their marriage life; no matter they married with a man in the upper class or lower class, or whether their husbands treated nicely or rudely. The Story of an Hour is a short story from a Vogue Magazine. Beside this work, she has written other famous work such as Awakening, which is also a feminism fictional story. While the purpose that the author trying to convey from the The Yellow Wallpaper is to tell the ineffectiveness of the treatment called “rest cure”, and how it worsen her depression and prevent her from doing work. Both The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman demonstrate how women in the nineteenth century struggle in their marriage lives, both physically or mentally. Both authors use characterizations which illustrate how the protagonists were influenced by the events of the stories. Their points of view are omniscient third person, with different types of narrator. They have different symbols in their stories. Chopin uses symbols such as heart troubles and open window while Gilman uses the wall paper that greatly affect the protagonist. The most important element, the themes for both of the stories are similar. In both of the stories, we can further explore the theme of the restrictions on woman and the prohibition of independence, the inherent oppressiveness of marriage, and being controlled in marriage, the importance of self-expression, and the uselessness of the “Resting Cure”. “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, raching toward her through the sounds, the scents, and the color that filled the air.” (Chopin659). From these few lines, Chopin intelligently uses the point of view of the omniscient third person to tell an hour story. She successfully illustrates Mrs. Mallard’s inner feelings and thoughts without using the first person point of view, which surprises me on why she would use the third person to narrate the story instead from the perspectives of the first person. Maybe the protagonist is not allowed to let her true self to be expressed and Chopin would have to use the third person point of view to show the readers what Mrs. Mallard or Louise has in her mind. Chopin inserts paragraphs with the stream-of-consciousness technique, allowing readers to get inside Mrs. Mallard's head to see her genuine reaction to the news of her husband's death. Gilman uses the same point of view as well. “It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and I secure ancestral halls for the summer. A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity--but that would be asking too much of fate!” (Gilman926). The above example shows that sometimes the first person is being used but most of the time it is from a different view. Even though “I” sometimes occur in the story, the unreliable narrator usually tells the story in the perspective of the omniscient third person.

The heart disease plays a significant role in The Story of an Hour...
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