Comparing The Yellow Wallpaper And The Awakening

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The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, is often compared to “The Yellow Wallpaper” because of the gender inequalities of the time. Both texts establish the struggles of oppression that women faced, even if they come from a wealthy family. The realism in both The Awakening and “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows through the women who wrote the novel. What was happening to women during this time period shows in the way the women act and how others act towards them throughout the novel. In both texts the same question is asked at the end of the novel; Is the end of the novel a triumph, or is it a defeat? In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman’s narrator descent into madness is compared to Edna’s suicide. Does it cause a final act of independence from the oppression…show more content…
There are examples where a woman is able to modify her social identity to be the woman that they choose to be. In The Awakening these women are Mademoiselle Reisz and Adele Ratignolle. Because Madame Reisz is an artist, she is not expected to marry anyone. She is not obligated to act “lady-like” and she is socially allowed to speak her mind, even in public. “So different from other representations of meek, self-effacing spinsters of this period, this woman here - an aging, un-married, impolite troublemaker - is not only tolerated but universally respected” (Ramos 149). Of course Madame Reisz is not totally free, but she is able to set her own social standards. Madame Ratignolle is able to hold a great amount of social power in the society. The reason that Edna chooses to end her life is because she feels that she is never going to reach a status like Mademoiselle Reisz and Madame Ratignolle. She starts to believe that she will never be able to achieve individualities or become the person she wants to become. “Her least realistic or achievable fantasies of identity also involve the abandonment of particular roles she cannot bring herself to relinquish, motherhood being the most obvious” (Ramos 149). Edna knows that she is neither a perfect mother nor is she the perfect individualist, like Madame Reisz. She has to accept the fact that to have one she must give up the

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