Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "the Yellow Wallpaper" And Kate Chopin's "the Story Of An Hour".

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour".


"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman is a dramatic story about a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression. The story illustrates the subjugated role of women prior to the feminist movement. When Gilman first wrote the tale it was deemed too offensive to print. "In the 1890s editors? and especially Scudder? still officially adhered to a canon of "moral uplift" in literature? and Gilman's story? with its heroine reduced at the end to the level of a groveling animal? scarcely fitted the prescribed formula" (Kirszner,18).

In contrast? Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour"? tells the story of a woman trapped in a repressive marriage? who wants desperately to escape. She is given that chance? quite by accident? and the story tells of the hour in which this freedom is given her. The story is very short (only two pages)? so is interesting to look at as a minimalist piece of literature? and the surprise ending offers an opportunity to look at Chopin's use of foreshadowing.


"The Yellow Wallpaper" is considered a literary victory for men and women alike. The story's unique ability to portray the feelings of women and their lack of individuality advocates for increased women's rights while abstaining from attacking men. The story showcases the lack of communication between men and women brought on by the sexual politics of the time? and the ways in which this affected individuals as well as society as a whole. (Bak, 42)

The protagonist in The Yellow Wallpaper is a woman named Jane? who recently gave birth which lead to her development of postpartum depression. "She is an imaginative? creative woman living in a society that views women who exhibit artistic and intellectual potential as anomalies? misfits? or? as in this story? ill" (Kirszner,18). As a direct result of the lack of medical research related to women and the general lack of empathy by the male dominated medical field? the protagonist is misdiagnosed and her mental health rapidly declines. "At that time? the medical profession had not yet distinguished between diseases of the mind and diseases of the brain; problems that would now be treated by psychiatrists? such as depression? were treated by neurologists such as Mitchell"(Gilman 244).

"The narrator is a woman who has been taken to the country by her husband in an effort to cure her of some undefined illness-a kind of nervous fatigue" (Gilman 244). During this time she secretly writes journal passages which illustrate her deteriorating health. "The journal entries span three months during which John [her husband] attempts to cure his wife's "nervous condition" through the rest cure of Weir Mitchell? which assumes that intellectual stimulation damages a women physically and psychologically" (Masterplots 2). Although the protagonist does not agree with the treatment that is administered to her? she knows her role and does not voice her concerns because she too believes somewhat that men know better and knows that she wouldn't be taken ...
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