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Too Much Love: Similarities in The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper
Pages 4 (1004 words)
When a marriage is a prison and the husband is a warden, strong women must eventually find a way to escape. Mrs. Mallard in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and the narrator in "The Yellow Wall-Paper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman are both intelligent Victorian women, but neither is allowed to publicly express herself…
Mrs. Mallard is allowed to finally release "the strongest impulse of her being" (Chopin 537) and when reality tries to replace the cork on her freedom, it is too much for her to bear. She dies of heartbreak. In these two stories, we see how the oppression of women under the guise of love leads to the destruction of both the love and the woman.
Both characters are constrained in the very beginning by the social conventions of their time and class. Many middle class women in that time period were expected to confine themselves to the home and domestic sphere, and even then, they were not expected to be in charge of the house, having lower class servants to do the cooking, cleaning and childrearing. It was thought that true women should not exert themselves, because they were too fragile to handle any strain. So it is for the characters in these stories. They are thought to be weak.
Mrs. Mallard, we learn in the first sentence, "was afflicted with heart trouble" (Chopin 536) and thus "great care" (Chopin 536) is taken with her. Her family does not believe she can handle the news of her husband's death on her own and does even allow her the luxury of sitting alone in her room. ...
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