17 December, 2009
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin the reader is given a taste of what marriage must have been like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as what it still may be like for some today. Both Gilman’s narrator and Chopin’s Mrs. Mallard are repressed wives. Contributing to this is society’s specific definition of gender roles and expectations at the turn of the century. Women were expected to stay at home and care for the family and domestic matters, not worry about the outside world. Anything other than that “was ashes.” (Quawas 35). Further reinforcing the point the need for women to have social freedom as well as self expression fellow author Kate Chopin along with
“,Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, Willa Gather, and Elizabeth Phelps also displayed a variety of attitudes toward women's public occupations and economic independence, the idea of marriage as a companionate union entered out of choice, the ending of the sexual double standard, and women's opportunity to be artists.” (Quawas 36)
The authors show us women who feel trapped and do not have control over some of the most basic aspects of their lives. The two stories are just as relevant today as they were one hundred years ago. Through Mrs. Mallard’s transformation from repressed wife to liberated widow, and the narrators decent into madness, the authors critique the oppression in marriage for wives at the turn of the century
In “The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrator is confined to a room with strange wall-paper. This odd wall-paper seems to symbolize the complexity and conflict in her life. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard must also deal with conflict as she must deal with the death of her spouse. At first there is grief, but then there is the recognition that she will be free. The institution of marriage ties the two protagonists of...