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Thomas Ryan

Mrs. Trykar

Advanced English 3, Period 4

16 February 2016

The Role of Women

The role of a women has changed drastically throughout time, starting off as non equal

counterparts to men and turning it into being equal counterparts. From the first settlers in america

all the way to today, the treatment of women has always been a controversial topic. Treatment of

a certain race or gender has always caused a controversy over the correct view, whether it was a

race that was seen as more superior to another or, it was just seeing women seen as less superior

to men. Two short stories that show, and express women empowerment through the oppression

they dealt with are The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin henceforth refers to as Hour, and

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman henceforth referred to as Wallpaper.

Both of these short stories express the viewpoint of women empowerment, and how women are

normally treated during the 1900s. The viewpoints of the short stories create a boost for womens

rights in society, and created a theme of empowerment through the oppression in which they

dealt with throughout their life. Both Hour and Wallpaper display the role of women, and

the theme of women empowerment through oppression, creating effects on the people who have

read the stories, the society after the stories were written, and the peoples actions to create

change for the role of women.

Some people believe that both stories Hour and Wallpaper did not invoke change in

society after they were written. People just saw the books as crazy and not right to be published,
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or even listened to when they were published. People thought that it would just be another story

that would not get a lot of attention, and people would not see it as something that would invoke

change. However, those people were wrong, because the stories Hour and Wallpaper invoked

an enormous amount of change after they were published. People realized that the treatment of

women as seen in this novel is not correct, and Not until recently have critics began to study

The Yellow Wallpaper and the more they delve into the world of Charlotte Perkins Gilman the

more we learn about what it was like to live an emotional and psychologically restraining

recognized(A Feminist Analysis), has changed the ideals of women and their treatment, for

many years after the stories were written. The change that the stories invoked will always be

remembered as enormous kickstart towards the change of a womens role in society.

Women in the stories Hour and Wallpaper both are depicted as normal everyday

people, this changes throughout the stories because as time goes on the reader is able to see how

non equality can drive people insane. In Hour Mrs. Mallard is seen as someone who is

afflicted with a heart trouble (Chopin) and is normally not the best at taking disappointing

news. The Mallard family, seems like a classical working class family in the early twentieth

century where Mr. Mallard is a railroad worker who doesn't come home, and Mrs. Mallard is a

housewife, and takes care of Mr. Mallard. When Mr. Mallard is pronounced dead, because he did

not get on the train to come back, Mrs. Mallard appears as having a void of resentment due to the

death. Then after a while of being mournful of her husband's death she figures out that now she

is free and now she is not in the [basic] situation of women in many societies, a concrete prison

for women build within marriage (A Feminist Analysis). Here the reader sees that she is no

longer crying because she is sad but because she is joyous that she is now free from the burden
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of her marriage and can do whatever she wants. Mrs. Mallard sees that she is no longer stuck in

the normal boring women role in a family. She now no longer has to deal with the oppression

that she has because she is married, she can now be free and focus on her life and not always be

helping someone elses. When she figures out that she no longer has to worry about her husband,

she did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her (Chopin). Here the

reader sees how she is now extremely happy because she no longer has the marriage holding her

back. This part of the story is seen as the most important, because it influences women greatly

throughout society. It shows that women should not be strung back because of the marriage, and

that all women should be treated as equal counterparts to men. The ending of the story signifies

a certain end of Mrs. Mallards dilemma between life and death or freedom and captivity. In this

respect death might bring peace or liberation to Mrs. Mallard (A Feminist Analysis). This is

where readers see the dilemma she is in, and how she is so sad because she does not want to deal

with the oppression of not being equal to her husband, so when she sees him she is so sad and

angry that she ends up dying. Hour helped to create an example in which women have

followed for years, and helped to create the society of equality by showing what oppression felt

like as a women, as a not equal counterpart.

The two women in the stories Hour and Wallpaper both are depicted as normal, this

changes though as time goes on the reader is able to see how non equality towards women can

drive them insane, and create conflict between people. In Wallpaper John is a normal man who

is married to his wife, but he is practical in the extreme (Gilman). Wallpaper starts out with

a normal family in the same way as Hour, the women are not in the best of states, because of

the inequality they receive. In Wallpaper the wife has recently began to suffer symptoms of
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depression and anxiety. She was then diagnosed by a physician who said she should be put in a

room all by herself. Her husband John agrees to this treatment and thinks that it will cure her and

make her no longer have depression and anxiety. When the wife is stuck in the room, after the

fourth of July, she gets unreasonably angry with John, (Gilman) and does not see the point to

her treatment and believes that it is not doing anything to help her. After the story was published

doctors said, The medical professions godlike attitude in The Yellow Wallpaper

demonstrates this arrogance (Charlotte Perkins Gilman). This caused for a dramatic change in

the status of women, showing the readers that the way in which women were being treated

mostly by men was wrong, men should listen to their partner and not think put the woman's

opinion down. The way in which women were tied to their marriage as a soul partner and not

able to do what they want to do and live their own life, is wrong. Women should not be told how

to live just because they have a superior partner as viewed by society. Wallpaper has changed

the role of women in society it has taken a story about a woman going insane because of her

husband's inconsiderate actions, and made it into a society changing story. After the story was

written, people see that, women such as those Charlotte Gilman portrayed in her work forged

ahead and challenged patriarchal ideologies. Women could move beyond the constrictions of the

ideology, the Cult of True Womanhood (Charlotte Perkins Gilman). This displays to the

readers of the short stories that the oppression in which women would deal with caused for many

problems, and a unhealthy role for women in society, due to the fact of them being seen and

treated as less than men. After the publishing of Wallpaper womens role slowly moved

towards the right direction, due to womens right activists, and many parties formed for the
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increase in equality, women were started to be seen as equals and no longer as just a less superior

marriage partner.

Overall both Hour and Wallpaper display the ways in which women were treated to

try invoke change in the society during the time period. Both of these short stories did just that

they accomplished the changing of the role of women in society, changing it from something not

so great into making women seen as equal to everyone else. The stories show that having people

be seen as not equality makes for a hard life, and makes life more of a sad and boring time then it

should be. In both of the stories Hour and Wallpaper the women are tied because of their

marriage, and there inequality towards the men. This causes them a lot of trouble when all they

want is to be equal, and no longer have the oppression in which they lived under for so many

years. Both stories served their purpose and were able to start the movement for equal rights and

were able to make everyone be seen as equal.

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Works Cited

"A Feminist Analysis on The Story of an Hour Written by Kate Chopin." A Feminist Analysis on

The Story of an Hour Written by Kate Chopin. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2016.

"Charlotte Perkins Gilman "The Yellow Wallpaper"" Gilman, "Yellow Wallpaper" N.p., n.d.

Web. 02 Feb. 2016.

Chopin, Kate, and Kate Chopin. The Story of an Hour. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning, 2001.


Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, and Dale M. Bauer. The Yellow Wallpaper. Boston: Bedford, 1998.