The story of an hour” has inspired and illuminated women to oppose their unsuccessful marriages, marriages which were nothing other than restraint and limitation to them. During the 19th century women were not given right to raise their voice against their husbands and file divorce against their marriage, here Kate Chopin is trying to demonstrate the plight of women in an unhealthy relationship, she proposes the idea of liberty to women for their choice of husband and the choice of marriage. She was recorded to state “Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer; than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s Life. 1899. An additional symbol appears in the story when Presently(husband) returns and as the story was leading to his death takes a turn and ends up killing Mrs.. Mallard, this reflects on the unaltered life of a man and the demise and downfall of women in the gender biased institution of marriage. “Bliss” dealing with two prominent themes marriage and adultery, wonderfully delivers the feeling of Bertha Young, at her exploration of a new sensation of desire in her both for her husband and her husband’s mistress.
Katherine Mansfield already introduced as a modernist feminist, she grasps all the traditional notions and serves them with a twist of modern aesthetics. Here Katherine elaborates the concept of an ideal marriage, in this story we as introduced to a family where the wife handles the household, the husband works and they have a beautiful baby girl. Superficially this appears to be an ideal case scenario for a successful marriage, but ironically it is not.
The husband is caring, but has no affection towards his wife, he is dominating and insensitive and even for his child as he says at the dinner table “don’t ask me about y baby. I never see her. I shan’t feel the slightest interest in her until she has a lover”, also he doesn’t follow the beliefs of marriage and is involved in an extra marital affair. Henry, the husband is adulterous, domineering, and cold shouldered. He holds a confident position in the household as he embraces his lover in his house in front of his wife and returns ‘extravagantly cool and collected’.
This story reveals that marriages are not always what they appear and those who think they have a perfectly happy marriage are often ignoring signs of discontent. Bertha and Henry re not even sexually involved; they treat each other as pals. Also where the husband has the confidence to return unaffected after embracing his lover reflects that men have right to infidelity whilst women were restricted from even expressing their sexuality, they were ought to have a passive individuality. The yellow wallpaper” is a perfect critique on 19th century institution of marriage, and the role played by the two participants involved in it. Feminine persona included being docile, passive, fragile, innocent and tolerant. Their major roles were few which comprised of maintaining household, satisfying their husbands in bed and bearing children. Only these roles gave any significance to the females. On the other hand males were the and intolerant. In the alliance of marriage male were the head, they were the decision makers and directors.
Ann J Lane in “To Heartland and Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gillian” mentioned “She took the restructuring of relations between men and women as a central focus of her new vision… Gillian asserted that attention needed to be paid initially to the ways in which people’s lives had to be altered in their homes, in their families, in their intimate relations, and that no changes in social relationships could be expected to come automatically’ and this is what Charlotte Perkins Gillian reflected in her works she focused on the fundamental and rotted union in the society ‘marriage’.
Perkins has marvelously captured these traits in her story, where the wife, Mary is suffering from postpartum depression and her husband is ignorant of her situation, he barges her with his own decisions for her betterment without considering her wishes, lack of communication ND the silencing of wife is reflected throughout the story. John, the husband doesn’t let her write or go out alone, she is confined to the four walls of the room. John automatically dejects his imaginative, literary wife.
He views her writing as inconsequential, rarely takes her anxieties seriously, and constantly refers to her with the diminutive “little. ” He doesn’t let her step out and express her desire and be independent. Mary had no identity left to her because even the one provided by the society had been taken from her. Gillian herself rebelled against these social expectations and, by leaving her first husband and moving to California to write was not deemed fit to belong in respectable society.
The motif of confinement keeps reoccurring in the story as Mary begins hallucinations which make her feel that the patterns on the yellow wallpaper are prison bars which doesn’t let the women behind it free and enjoy the freedom that the men enjoy. A symbol of the feminine domestic sphere, she starts associating with her imaginary women. Marriage comes as a crippling disease to her and the marital love as oppression, she develops a gap twine her inner self and external self, which eventually turns her into a mad women.
The symbol of mad women is prominent in the 19th century works as women were more prone to minor depression because of lack of power, expression and societal status. Gilbert and Gabon talk about the image of mad women in “Mad woman in the attic” and Charlotte Bronze had Bertha Mason in “Jane Rye” as an illustration of mad women. “Female Melody’ a 19th century novel explores the treatment given to woman with depression, they were treated for madness and were incorrectly diagnosed. Shills Danni