EI 8. Comparing Texts Both "The Story of an Hour" and "The Yellow Wallpaper" were written in the 1890s. How would you compare the themes of the two stories? Which story would you prefer, and why?
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Both of these text reflect marriage and domesticity as prison sentences. For Mrs. Mallard, prison is subservience to her husband...... it's a rule she follows that when she hears he's been killed, the news signals her freedom. In the "Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator retreats into a prison of her own making because domestically she feels trapped by the everyday humdrum and expectations of a housewife during that time. Both of these women feel isolated and confined, and although Mrs. Mallard's husband appears only briefly in the text (the conclusion), we see the narrator's husband exercising his right to patronize his wife over and over again.
I will always prefer the "Story of an Hour," because we don't need details to understand Mrs. Mallard's feelings, and we don't see freedom from abuse (emotional and physical) as her reason for embracing the freedom she believes to have gained. Of course, I always find it appalling that he husband's death can afford her such joy.....