Agency?

Standard

Women frequently appear to be portrayed as being inferior to men in many literary works. This inferior portrayal of women parallels that of the way that women are seen in society. Also the condescending behavior of men and society toward women is portrayed. For example women are paid less then men are for holding the same occupation and accomplishing the same work. Therefore, it is only appropriate that in this time period both of the women’s conclusions in their stories are largely based because of their husband’s treatment and behavior toward them. Neither woman has a say in their lives. In “The Story of an Hour” and in “The Yellow Wallpaper” both women are oppressed, trapped, and misled by their husbands.
In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of An Hour” the protagonist is first informed that her husband had been killed on the train. Many wives would explode with tears and express extreme grief due to the fact that their loved one has passed on. Although the main character “wept at once with sudden wild abandonment in her sister’s arms” she escaped to her room soon after in search of solace to ponder the event that had just struck her life” (Chopin 123). She was facing an open window. The window seemed to be a representation of the endless opportunities of the future for her. It was as if a “delicious breath of rain” had refreshed her outlook, and given her life again (Chopin 123). The main character reflects a state of euphoria that she is now free, “drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window” (Chopin 124). There is no sign that her husband has mistreated her in any way, but the marriage seems to have constrained her in such a way that she could not fully experience life to her satisfaction. This exaltation and revival that occurs shows that she had not had the opportunity to enjoy the passing minutes of her life; she was in some way oppressed and trapped by the “powerful bending hers in that blind persistence” However, this sweet joy was short-lived when opens the door to find her husband standing in the doorway taking off his jacket.

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