“Schools of Thought-Short Story Essay”

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Fiction, Short story Pages: 3 (866 words) Published: October 20, 2008
“Schools of Thought-Short Story Essay”

During the nineteenth century, women were not given the respect they deserved, and the need for their self assertion was essential. The short stories, “Desirée’s Baby,” by Kate Chopin, and the “Yellow Wall-Paper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, both demonstrate the need for self assertion among women by using realistic representations of human behavior and personal psychological states. From both stories, the main female characters’ behaviors and emotions reflect their psychological state, how they feel about their lives, and how they believe they should be treated. Desirée, from “Desirée’s Baby,” and the nameless narrator, from the “Yellow Wall-Paper,” both have weak and dependent personalities, which the reader learns from their actions and their relationships with their husbands. Throughout history, women have not been able to be independent and contributing members of society, and were looked down upon by men. Both of these short stories, however, were written by women, about women, in order to promote the need for self assertion and independency among women.

Kate Chopin uses a psychological attitude to portray Desirée’s frail and dilapidated mind set. Desirée was extremely reliant on her husband, the cruel and harsh Armand Aubigny. He did not allow her to be a strong woman or to be self assertive. As said in the short story, “When he frowned she trembled, but she loved him. When he smiled, she asked no greater blessing of God.” Desirée was not her own person, but merely a minute part of Armand’s life. Chopin uses an accurate representation of the normal nineteenth century behavior and emotions of women through her short story. She translates real actions of real women into meaningful words to express the need for self assertion among women. Desirée does, however, defend herself persistently against her husband when he states that she is black. Desirée’s action and determination to make Armand believe that she was...
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