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

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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. In Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator, who is never actually named in the story, is extremely suppressed by her husband. Her husband John is a man and a doctor, which truly makes him an even more powerful person in their marriage, especially when the narrator gets ill. He is constantly condescending and patronizing her. For example, the narrator says, "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage" (Widger 1). He seems to be laughing at her, and she feels like it’s a normal thing in marriages. Another example of this would be "Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose" (Widger 1). Again, her husband is condescending her. Throughout the story, her husband tells her everything that she can’t do, and she seems to have no choice in the matter. She doesn't even have power over her own body or the medical treatment that she is getting.

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The reader can infer that the narrator in the story is suffering from post-partum depression, soon after she has had a child. In the story, John tells the narrator that he’s taken her to a vacation home for the summer. However, it seems to be more like a mental health facility. Of course she has no ruling in this decision, and is simply told to relax and recover. When the narrator shows an interest in visiting her cousins Henry and Julia, her husband again disregards her wishes. Without the husband’s awareness, the narrator secretly holds a journal. She is able ...

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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