Feminism In The Yellow Wallpaper And The Story Of An Hour

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Introduction

In the plot of the novel “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, the leading character is portrayed as a woman in the 1800s who faces oppressive perception from men. In addition to this, the protagonist of Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” experiences a similar attitude. Both women deal with some type of loss throughout their short story, but, in each situation, the effectiveness of that loss differs on contrasting ends of the continuum. At long last, both characters are presented as women who are dealing with loss and oppression, but how the contrast in their losses impacts each of them ranges from joy to sadness.

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Feminism In The Yellow Wallpaper And The Story Of An Hour

During that period, women were granted fewer rights. In fact, women were expected to raise children and take care of their husbands. The passing of Chopin’s narrator’s husband has given her freedom and self-exploration. Being released from the need to fulfill her husband’s demands enabled her to dedicate more time to herself. The absolute pleasure that the woman feels reveals how women were made responsibly for taking care of everything but themselves. In contrast, Gillman’s narrator is under pressure to be perfect not for herself, but for her husband, who is largely reliant on her care.

In addition, one of the most well-known rights that women were deprived of was the prerogative to read and write. Jane, the narrator in the story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, recalls that she was privately writing. For example, “I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal—having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition” (80), as well as “And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel and think in some way—it is such a relief!” (85). These phrases are evidence of the argument that women were not given the right to think things through and voice their feelings. Therefore, this is another classic example of oppression. Both women in one way or another experienced oppressive treatment from the primary men in their lives.

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One more striking contrast that will enhance the difference between these two women is their experience of loss. The woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” has lost her identity. Over the course of the story, Jane becomes so obsessed with the wallpaper and her disease that she loses all normal feelings. On the other side, Chopin’s narrator has suffered a physical loss — the loss of her husband. The author states that her husband died at the beginning of the novel. Despite their losses being distinct, in a certain way they both lost something precious to them.

Of course there are different methods to cope with the devastating feelings of loss and everyone grieves in their own manner, but these two women could not have felt it any other way. Gillman’s narrator experienced these emotions in total sorrow and solitude. Over the course of the story, Jane loses herself one step at a time; her physical condition deteriorates along with her mental state. We can even notice that the woman is losing weight because of this disease. Both symptoms are clear proof that her condition is increasingly approaching the ultimate point. In comparison, Chopin’s heroine is full of sincere pleasure after the news of her husband’s death. After receiving this news, the heroine repeatedly repeats the word “free”, sensing the arrival of the long-desired freedom from male control. The feeling that she no longer needs to be a shadow of her husband allowed the woman to begin to fantasize about self-discovery and life only for herself, about absolute joy and happiness.

Conclusion

Consequently, the life of females in the period before the women’s rights movement was tough and unjust, as males were the prevailing gender. The protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gillman was obliged to cover up her views by writing in private, as well as to struggle with a disease that her husband did not believe in and did not take seriously. The heroine of Kate Chopin was in captivity of social beliefs and was compelled to serve her husband. In summary, both women suffered from oppression from the important men in their lives and faced loss, but the manner in which they dealt with their pain was fundamentally distinct.

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