"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and and "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin

Essay by phattiHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2003

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin presents two women, Louise and Charlotte, who tries to overcome their controlling husbands to achieve individual freedom. The stories were both feminist. Webster's dictionary defines feminism as the belief that women should have economic, political, and social equality with men. In these two stories, the women fight for social equality with men as they struggle to have the freedom to do what they want.

In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the narrator suffers from a mental disorder, instead of helping her recover, he refuses to acknowledge her problem. "John is a physician, and perhaps--(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind) - perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency - what is one to do? My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing" (Gilman 431).

It is frustrating to the narrator to have her husband and brother to dismiss her illness as a mere temporary condition. "It is a false and foolish fancy"(Gilman 437). He believes that putting her in confinement would cure her problem, but he does not even understand her illness. He is a physician, so he only understands physical illnesses. Yet he jumps to the conclusion that she has no sickness, and she has to accept it, because he is a man...