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In the 1800s most women had very difficult lives. There were many issues and restrictions such as, not having the right to own their own property, they could not keep their own wages, and were viewed as mentally ill. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the story is told in a third-person omniscient point of view. Mrs. Mallard loved her husband, but he still controlled her. When she got the news about his death she was sad but realized this brought her independence. The author uses this symbol of death to represent freedom. This follows only Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts, actions, and feelings as the story unfolds. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, the main character sees someone trying to get free from behind the wallpaper in the bedroom she is forced to “rest” in. She sees things through her depression. She is an unintentional, unreliable narrator. The first-person narration focuses on her own thoughts. The narrator uses point of view to show it is dangerous for women to fantasize about independence. In both stories, the authors use symbols to show how women were viewed as too fragile and were not taken seriously.

The major theme of Kate Chopin’s story is showing how ignorant society was in the time of the true emotions experienced by repressed women. First, the point of view allows the readers to identify the inner feelings expressed by Mrs. Mallard. Chopin uses the symbolism of freedom to show how women were mentally abused. Mrs. Mallard is physically “…afflicted with a heart trouble…” Her idea of marriage symbolically represents her feelings towards the overall unhappiness with her lack of freedom (169). In The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin uses situational irony when we were expecting for the husband to be dead but there was an opposite outcome. Chopin states, “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘Free, free, free!’ (170). When she first received the news about his death she seemed very sad and grieved, people normally do this after someone passes away. Although the readers then start to realize that she is not actually sad and she seems satisfied while in her bedroom alone. In The Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death shows situational irony. The author includes, “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of joy that kills” (171). Chopin writes that the doctor reported the cause of death as the joy of seeing her husband was such a shock that she died instantly. The Story of an Hour is an example of someone fantasizing about freedom. Many authors use this theme of women wanting independence in their stories and use common literary elements.

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Freedom to express oneself is important in the 19th century and lack of this right could lead to physical and mental health problems. The story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman reveals that gender division had the effect of keeping women in a childish state of ignorance and preventing their full development. The conflict is between the narrator’s desire to express herself and her inability to actually do so.“John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (131). In a good marriage, someone does not expect their spouse to laugh at them. The narrator allows herself to be inferior to men. These two stories have similarities such as the use of rest treatment by the doctors in trying to deal with the conditions of the women. The main characters in the two stories are similar in the sense that they are all in search of freedom and want independence. One irony of Charlotte Perkins’s story is in the treatment that is prescribed for the woman. She probably would have cured herself, rather than repressing emotions. This nervous condition becomes extremely worse because the husband, who is a physician and the attending doctor understands her sensitive and artistic nature. These two “doctors” are a negative, rather than a positive influence on her. “Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day…” (138). The two stories are similar in that the main characters are women who want freedom and are fixing independence.

Both women are restricted from doing and saying what they want. The stories were both written from a feminist point of view. The women had different types of life changes and different responses to the change in their life. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the author, Charlotte Perkins, wanted to give her readers an understanding of the plight of women in the 19th century. In her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” Ms. Perkins tries to convey this to the readers, not just on a literal level, but through various symbols to show the restrictions on women. Kate Chopin uses irony, a technique that reveals the distance between what appears to be true and what is actually true, to conclude her story. In “The Story of an Hour,” there is an incongruity between what is understood to be true by the characters within the drama and what is understood by the reader. A common theme between the two stories is that the stories feature women who both were abused and or neglected by their husbands.

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