The Story Of An Hour Oppression Analysis

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Oppression in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Kate Chopin both present intriguing short stories with the common theme of oppression which strongly mirrors the writers’ personal experiences. The narrator in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is portrayed as being trapped by her husband and suffering from mental illness. This is represented by the woman behind the wallpaper. Chopin shows oppression in “The Story of an Hour” by Mrs. Mallard’s joy after the “death” of her husband and her reaction when he returns. It is evident that the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Mrs. Mallard in “The Story of an Hour” represent the authors’ personal lives as oppressed women. Evidence suggests…show more content…
The narrator’s husband, John, is loving, but very overprotective of her. This is clearly shown when the narrator states, “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction” (Gilman 3). This “special direction” is detrimental to the narrator because she can no longer make decisions for herself. An example of this is that the narrator is unable to leave her own room unless her husband allows it. In Barbara A. Seuss’s article, John S. Bak states, “The narrator is bound and gagged by her oppressive structures of her male imposed shackles” (79). This is seen when John tricks the narrator into believing the asylum in which she is staying is actually a summer home. He manipulates her and uses her illness to maintain the illusion that she is on a vacation, but in reality, her freedom has been revoked. The narrator eventually realizes that her husband and her sanity are keeping her from being truly free. This is evident when the narrator states, “I’ve got out at last….. in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back” (Gilman 17)! The narrator tearing off the wallpaper represents freedom from her oppressive structures. She removed the things in her life that were holding her back. Similarly, Mrs. Mallard in “The Story of an Hour” gains freedom from her oppressive…show more content…
Mallard in “The Story of an Hour” are women trapped by their marriages. They both break free from their shackles, even if only mentally, in their own way. Each of these stories shows a glimpse of the authors’ personal life, and how their own experiences inspired their writing. Both women escaped oppression in undesirable ways. The narrator escaped only in her mind by succumbing to mental illness, and Mrs. Mallard escaped, ironically, through her own death and not her husband’s. Both stories show that oppression is situational, and no matter the circumstances, the situation can always be

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