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Realist and Feminist Structures in Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and Kate Chopin's The Storm - Essay Example

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Realist and Feminist Structures in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Storm” Feminist literature from the late nineteenth century possesses a number of similarities especially in terms of its structure, the use of realism and the projection of the feminist perspective…
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Realist and Feminist Structures in Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and Kate Chopin's The Storm

Download file to see previous pages... Another similarity is the use of naturalist devices to construct both stories. Each story depicts the life of a single female protagonist who is mired in realistic situations that the reader can easily relate to. In addition to these similarities, both stories carry overriding feminist ideas and critique which essentially form the bulwark of both stories. This paper will compare and contrast both stories based on these structural, thematic and literary devices. The development of climax in both stories is gradual, uses symbols and both stories tend to end as soon as the climax is achieved. Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper depicts the protagonist as going mad over time as her husband John locks her up in her room. The author has chosen the yellow wallpaper as a symbol to reflect changing attitudes and mental state on the part of the protagonist. The yellow color itself is something that the protagonist tends to loathe from the first time she looks at it. As the story proceeds to its climax, the yellow wallpaper tends to indicate and enhance the climax. According to Gilman (Carnley 23): “It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things. But there is something else about that paper—the smell!” Again towards the end of the story (Carnley 26): “For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow.” At the climax, the protagonist goes mad thinking that she just managed to extricate herself from the yellow wallpaper which signals and symbolizes the climax. The story ends immediately afterwards as the protagonist’s husband John enters the room and faints while the protagonist continues her mad movements across the room. This is comparable to Chopin’s The Storm where the author has used the storm as a symbol while she moves slowly towards the climax. The behavior of Calixta and Alcee tends to change as the storm develops gradually. At the start of the story, the author states (Gale 81): “She stood there with Bobinot's coat in her hands, and the big rain drops began to fall.” However, as the story is about to end the author expresses the character of the storm as (Gale 82): “The growl of the thunder was distant and passing away.” This indicates that the gentle rain at the start of the story developed into a large storm with thunder and lightning that subsided as the protagonists were done with their adulterous affair. What is noticeable is that the story’s climax is symbolized by a storm and that the story tends to end as soon as the climax is achieved. The end is again abrupt much similar to Galmin’s The Yellow Wallpaper. In addition to this similarity, both stories employ naturalist devices in order to develop the story. The characters and the imagery provided by either author are realist and the reader can relate these characters and scenarios to common life with ease. The protagonist in Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is a common housewife while her husband is a physician and predictably they have a middle class background. The protagonist’s thoughts and emotions expressed in the story signify that she is an ordinary person like anyone else. The fastidious nature of the protagonist’s husband is also attributable to the trends of the time. In the late nineteenth century physicians were still discovering new methods of treatment and took their time to differentiate right treatment from wrong. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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