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The Theme of Opression in Marriage in "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Story of an Hour".

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Introduction

Oppression in Marriage In the 19th century, women were traditionally known as having less importance in marriage, while it was the norm for the male husbands to be in control. The women were expected to watch over the home and were thought to be the person who should take care of the children in a family. Throughout history, many remarkable characters in literature have been created from the tension women have had to face with men and society in general. Two noteworthy short stories, ?The Yellow Wallpaper and ?The Story of an Hour, ? take place in the 19th century, and focus on that tension. This specific era is very significant because it is a time when women were truly treated as second-class citizens. Both of the short stories criticize the male-dominated society and explore its oppression towards women. Oppression against women is key in the success of attaining freedom in both short stories. The husbands oppress the narrators in both stories, and while the narrators truly want to be happy in their lives, they find it impossible. The way they are treated by their spouses prevents them from being sincerely happy. ...read more.

Middle

The narrators mind then turns to the yellow wallpaper in the room, and ?she begins to find in its tangled pattern the emotions and experiences she is forbidden to record? (Schumaker 509). While doing his best to make sure the narrator represses her imagination, John ultimately creates the very conditions he wants to prevent. The narrator starts to become insane, thinking that the wallpaper is looking at her and that there is a woman trapped behind the bars of the paper. The narrator says, ?I really have discovered something at last?The front pattern does move?and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!? (Widger 1). When the narrator saw the woman captured by the wallpaper, she begins to want her freedom even more. She starts to realize that she too, is a prisoner. The more the thinks about it, the more insane she becomes. During the day, the narrator sees the woman walking around, which shows her that she can be free during the day at times, but is certainly trapped in the wallpaper at night. The author wrote, ?I think that woman gets out in the day time! I?ve seen her! ...read more.

Conclusion

She begins to experience her senses in ways she had never previously imagined. The awareness of the noises and aromas coming from the spring day outside, symbolize her brand-new freedom. When Mrs. Mallard finds out that her husband is not actually dead, as she believed, she immediately dies from her heart disorder. Chopin writes, ?When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease-of joy that kills? (Woodlief 1). Finding out that her husband is still alive, forces her to relinquish her newfound freedom, because she is put back into the role of being a submissive wife. Only through her husbands death was Mrs. Mallard able to maintain the independence she desired. ?The Yellow Wallpaper? and ?The Story of an Hour? are two literary works that focus on the importance of independence for women in the cruel and culture of the 19th century. The main characters in both stories struggle to take the freedom they so desperately desire, and both momentarily discover it in the walls that once confined them. The parallels between ?The Story of an Hour? and ?Yellow Wallpaper? accentuate the profound transformation that was happening at the time of publication and reinforce the hope for an improved society, where women can have a much stronger voice. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This essay begins with a competent introduction and proceeds with quite a good analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper". The second work "The Story of an Hour" is barely discussed, so little useful comparison can be made. The conclusion is weak and adds very little to the statements of the introduction.

Paragraph and sentence construction are mostly managed adequately, though there are some punctuation and grammar errors. Lexis is mostly up to the task.

3 stars

Marked by teacher Jeff Taylor 30/07/2013

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