The Feminism In The Yellow Wallpaper And The Story Of An Hour

Subject: Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 816
Topics: Book, Feminism, The Story Of An Hour, The Yellow Wallpaper


“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin demonstrate how women were once perceived by men. “The Story of an Hour” is comparable to “The Yellow Wallpaper” because it expresses the ideas of feminism and freedom. Both stories reveal women attempting to conform to societal expectations in their pursuit of freedom. Two fascinating stories portray the lives of two women who are desperately searching for freedom, but do not receive it because they are under the constant influence of their husbands.

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Feminism in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story Of An Hour”

In “The Story of an Hour”, Louise exposes that since she got wedded, her life has completely shifted. When she is informed of her husband’s death, she begins to feel relieved as she envisions a new life without him. However, the woman is devastated when she discovers that her husband is still alive. The same way, the woman in the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” equally does not consider the freedom from her marriage. Her husband does not permit her to stay in the room where she would prefer to be. He forbids the woman to carry out the things she desires to perform and to be the person she aspires to become.

In both stories, closed rooms are portrayed in order to direct the reader’s reflections to the personal experiences that are present in the minds of the protagonists. When they are outside the rooms, the women’s actions conform to social expectations. The woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” experiences mental problems and is restrained from any activity. When she is isolated in the room, her thoughts are directed solely to the design of the wallpaper in the room. At one point the lady makes an attempt at liberation by ruining an image resembling a woman she exposes in the pattern. She tries to seek an image of the woman and attempts to search for freedom, but ends up becoming insane. In “The Story of an Hour”, Louise can be associated with the storyteller in “The Yellow Paper” because she is also fastened in a room, which ultimately acts as a symbol that conducts her to her final freedom. In the room, the reader witnesses what Louise is reflecting on. As well as the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, she demonstrates her personal behavior in the room.

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In “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story of an Hour”, women are portrayed as people who gain freedom by adhering to social standards. When Louise is informed of her husband’s death, she locks herself in a room. She reflects on her new joyful life after realizing that her husband is dead and can explore absolute freedom by closing herself in a room. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, this is also experienced by the protagonist when her illness leads her to an irrational obsession with yellow wallpaper. The picture of the woman that emerges on the wallpaper seems to be a representation of her own confinement in the room. She concludes that she is in a similar situation with the image and chooses to release it by destroying it. The ruination gives her the impression that she has finally reached freedom. In this way, these stories are alike in that the women finally free themselves of their circumstances.

One more common feature between “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” is that women are portrayed from the perspective of doctors. In the 19th century, not many women became doctors because it was believed that it was only men who could be among them. The writers of these two stories intended to represent doctors to illustrate how women were perceived by men. The key heroine of “Yellow Wallpaper” is a doctor’s wife. Her husband forces her to stay in a sanatorium because she suffers from depression caused by the fact that she recently had a newborn. The case of misdiagnosis is also presented in “The Story of an Hour”. In this plot, Louise experiences heart failure, which eventually leads to her death. Doctors are convinced that her death may have been triggered by the sudden sense of relief and happiness she feels after finding out that her husband is still alive. Alternatively, what kills Louise is her inability to handle the feeling that gripped her after she had just gained her freedom.


“The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Story of an Hour” reveal the role of women in society and their dependence on men. The stories demonstrate that women are able to manage their own lives without the male involvement. They work very hard to become free, but because of their naivety, they are eventually unsuccessful. This proves that both stories tell about potential improvements when women will have authority in the society. This will provide them with the chance to live their own lives without being monitored by men.

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