When the stories begin, the general impression a reader receives is that the women were devoted to their husbands. For instance, in the Yellow Wallpaper, the protagonist in referring to her husband states, “He is very careful and loving and hardly lets me stir without special direction.”(Gilman) In the case of “The Hour”, Mrs. Maillard initially appears heart broken at the news of her husband’s death – “she wept at once, with sudden wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms.” (Chopin). However, as the stories progress, this general impression is belied.
The protagonist in “The Yellow Wall Paper” exhibits a subtle discontent with her husband John; he laughs at her and the author satirically remarks “one expects that in marriage.”(Gilman). Moreover, despite being a physician, he does not believe she is sick, he has not let her take the room downstairs with roses; rather he has confined her in a room with horrible yellow wall paper. It is also apparent that the author feels guilty about these subtle, underlying feelings of anger and resentment against her husband and would not be inclined to voice them aloud to anyone. She blames him for the fact that she is sick and feels helpless because despite being a physician, he has characterized her illness as a mere nervous depression and his word is law. She admits, “I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive.” This reveals that she is aware of underlying feelings of resentment, but tries to mask it as an unpleasant side effect of her illness. As a woman, she is expected to be submissive and relegate herself to home and hearth, living in obedience to her husband’s will and as the story progresses, her anger against her husband becomes more and more apparent.
In “the Hour” the protagonist has been living for so long in the state of captivity to her husband’s dominion that she automatically ...Show more