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Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour And Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

1746 words - 7 pages

Kate Chopin wrote “The Story of an Hour” in 1894; it describes a young married women named Louise confronting years of suppression that vanish with her husband’s death leaving her with unimaginable freedom. A few years later in 1899, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” which portrayed a married woman’s struggle against insanity. The similarities between the two would seem unapparent, other than the fact that both women in the stories are married. When submersing oneself deeper into the stories, one can see the analogy between their wedded husbands, and the controlling grips they have on their wives. However, if a person truly descends within the two texts, accord and disparity layers itself with symbolism; the two stories show unique settings and elaborate imagery that pose multiple similarities as well as differences.
Within “The Story of an Hour”, the setting mainly focuses on her room. From vague details given, it is apparent that she lives in a quaint house within the suburbs of the city; however, she mainly spends all of her time in her bedroom. The few details given about her room are essential to her seemingly planned life, but, with what is given, in her room, there stands a comfortable armchair that sits toward the open window with assumedly a bed somewhere in the room. Even though the main character seems to dwell in such a pleasant home with her husband and her sister, she perceived that her husband controlled her every waking moment. She views the room as a prison and her only escape outside is the window possessing opportunities that are just out of her reach. Once she learns of her husband’s death however, everything becomes almost too good to be true. She secludes herself to the one place that hasn’t changed to try to confront her shock. She looks out of her prison cell to see a brighter and more cheery scene which has now become something within her reach. Louise describes, “. . . the tops of trees that were all aquiver with new spring life. The delicious breath of rain. . . The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.” The analysis of the setting’s symbolism shows a room, a prison, that contains a bed to remind her of who controls her, an armchair to symbolize her comfortable life, and her window giving her a glimpse of what freedom would look like.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” also contains such a room with more added detail. “. . .we took the nursery at the top of the house. It is a big, airy room, the whole floor nearly, with windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore. . . for the windows are barred for little children.” It is apparent that the room has the same prison feeling as the previous; however, there are literal bars and gates that are there to keep in the main character. The wife originally wanted a room on a lower floor with flowers and quaint old hangings, but her husband, John,...

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