The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper


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The women in The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper attempt to

overcome their oppression by finding an outlet. They tried to find something or do

something that would comfort them. In The Story of an Hour, the window is the main

symbol. Correspondingly, in The Yellow Wallpaper, the wallpaper itself is the main

symbol.

In The Story of an Hour, the window is what symbolizes Mrs. Mallard’s

freedom in that she has new opportunities. She says that she is finally free, “free body

and soul.” She says this because she realizes that she is finally free from her husband. It

can be inferred from the story she was oppressed because she didn’t have any

opportunities in the past. The window is what releases her from her oppression by setting

her free and giving her new opportunities that were not available to her in the past.

In The Yellow Wallpaper, the wallpaper symbolizes her oppression in a way. In

which John’s wife sees a woman in the wallpaper. During the daytime the light makes it

look as if she is behind bars shaking them. However, during the night the woman in the

wallpaper creeps around. John’s Wife relates the woman in the wallpaper to herself by

saying that she creeps in the daytime when John isn’t around. However, during the night

she is quite still because John is around and he will notice her. John’s wife tries to

overcome her oppression by setting the woman free inside the wallpaper, in order to free

her oppression. Which the house itself is a prison for her since John won’t let her leave

and that he keeps telling her that writing will make her worse, while it was only

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depression.

Both stories are not to be taken literally because of the meanings behind each of

the main symbols. The women in the story try to overcome their oppression by finding an

outlet for how they feel and their depression. Mrs. Mallard uses the window which sets her

free. John’s wife tears down the wallpaper and she tries to write to get her feelings out.


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