“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin were published in nineteenth century and have similarities in some aspects. Both of the stories have discussed on the male-dominated society and the impact of the patriarchal society on women. The women in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story of an Hour” are being controlled by their husbands physically and mentally. They have been deprived the rights to speak out their own minds and forced culturally to follow and support whatever their husbands say. Both “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story of an Hour” have suggested that the patriarchy-centered society oppresses women and causes unfavorable effects on women, marriages and society.
In “The Story of an Hour”, the ‘heart trouble’ that Louise is suffering from can be physical and emotional. Chopin vaguely indicates that the marriage between Louise and Brently is unhappy and it stifles Louise’s freedom. “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death” (par. 13). Louise admits that Brently is kind and loving, and she, sometime, has loved him. Nonetheless, his control over her life and feelings makes her feel stressed and repressed. The news of her husband’s death actually rejoices her as she is regaining her long-lost freedom. “But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (par. 13) . Even though she is crying, but, from the bottom of her heart, she feels free and relieved. From the text, “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life” (par. 5) and “Free! Body and soul free!” (par. 16), it is obvious that she is glad that she is finally free from her husband’s control and can live for herself in a way of her preference.
At the end of “The Story of an Hour”, the sudden appearance of Brently is, in fact, the main cause of Louise’s death. However, the doctor said she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills (par. 23). In nineteenth century, the men always see things from their own perspectives and never try to put themselves in women’s shoes. They assume their decisions and feelings are absolutely primary and right. Therefore, they think what they have done for the women is for the women’s own good. They never ponder if what they have done is what the women want.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator is facing the similar problem as Louise does. John, a physician and the narrator’s husband, is authoritative and practical in extreme. John is overconfident that he know what is best for his wife and always disregards her feelings. Every time the narrator tries to express her own feelings and thoughts, John belittles them and even stops her from continuing. “…he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look that I could not say another word” (par. 141)....