Women's Rights And Freedom In The Story Of An Hour By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Considering the words of Kate Chopin in “The Story of an Hour” and those of Charlotte Perkins Gilman written in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper Chunks,” women’s rights and freedom which were limited, were becoming a rising issue during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in America, as they seeked for greater independence and liberty. In Kate Chopin’s story, a woman falls into the hands of death as she learns of her husbands return after she had experienced the mixed feeling of joy and freedom when she thought he had perished. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, a woman battling the repression of her thoughts, feelings, and ideas results in her self-destruction and insanity. Based on the written stories of Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins …show more content…
A woman’s independence and liberty was lost the day she married. In “The Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin says, “There would be no powerful will bending persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow culture.” (785) Mrs. Mallard wouldn’t have a husband with his power over her as she wouldn’t over him. In any marriage it was not possible for a woman to maintain her true sense of identity without being silenced by the other’s demands. This realization causes her to feel an overwhelming joy from deep within to her husbands death. Kate Chopin then goes on to say how, “There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself.” (785) Mrs. Mallard was free to live for herself for no one would be tying her down anymore. The idea that a woman was oppressed within her marriage is supported by Theodore Roosevelt who retorted that a woman who was a good wife, and a good mother was a woman worthy of respect, but if she didn’t show effort or self-sacrifice she was not. In America’s view, a respectable woman would …show more content…
In “The Yellow Wallpaper Chunks,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman says, “I don’t know why I should write this...And I know John would think it absurd. But I must say what I feel and think in some way- it is such a relief.” (772) This woman is deprived of writing, for her husband says it will worsen her state and not do her good. She is expressing her feelings on the need to write and what her husband thinks of it being preposterous. Women were limited in expanding their intellect. Men considered them foolish for their ideas in which they expressed themselves and didn’t find them reasonable, for according to their point of view, women had no sense. Gilman then mentions the results of this by saying, “Of course I never mention it to them anymore- I am too wise- but I keep watch of it all the same. There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will.” (773) The woman is losing sense of her mindset, creating an illusion, as a result of being deprived her self-expression. Since she repressed her feelings of anxiety and fear, she was slowly driving herself insane. A woman would learn to hide her worries as a result of seeking to avoid further judgement from her husband, but that would only worsen her mental and emotional state. Gilman then shows the narrator express her frustration by claiming, “You see he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? If a physician of high

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