Essay Comparing Gilman And The Awakening

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Gilman and Chopin both are trying to illustrate how women are trapped and bound by the unspoken rules of Victorian society. They also show the audience the consequences of conformity for women that desire independence. In Chopin’s “The Awakening,” Edna slowly begins to discover herself in her husband’s absence. She experiences “a radiant peace settled upon her when she at last found herself alone” (595). This is the central message which the author wishes to convey. The constant pressures and responsibilities take such a toll on women, as represented by Mr. Pontellier until they are lifted, as represented by his absence. In the absence of these pressures, there is a peace that falls upon women. Regarding independence, the author refers to almost …show more content…
Unlike “The Awakening,” Gilman also allows the reader to venture into the demented mind of a housewife that has been driven to insanity by the constant pressures of her life through the use of first person writing. It is very clear why she has the “condition” that she has fallen under. The society’s rules for women is so ingrained in her mind that she, in the midst of her own private thought, forces herself to stop writing about her condition to talk about the house (687). She even fears that her husband’s sister will tell her husband that she is writing, which shows how even the oppressed feel it is only right and well that they continue to be oppressed (690). Previously, the woman praises her husband as “very careful and loving and hardly lets me stir without special direction” (688) as if his overbearingness is a blessing. All of these pressures worsen her condition as her husband will not allow her to escape to her cousins, so she becomes obsessed with the yellow, ripped wallpaper in the room. She spends all day and night looking at these “patterns” that do not exist. Such an infatuation with something as mundane as wallpaper is evidence that her condition is worsening, yet her physician of a husband ignores the signs and orders her “rest” only. Ultimately, she snaps and breaks down all of the wallpaper. She realizes the woman trapped behind the wallpaper was herself. The other “creeping women” (697) could even symbolize other women that suffer the same condition as the

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