Comparison of the Yellow Wallpaper, Story of an Hour, and Gaslight
While women have achieved equality along with political and social independence in many ways over the past century, contemporary feminist movements continue to blossom as gender expectations and stereotypes remain deeply embedded in our culture. Today and in the past, feminist notions about the social norms that limit women's possibilities have yearned for expression and have found this through various artistic outlets. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin, and the 1944 Film Gaslight are three artistic works that relay feminist themes in a unique way. These three works differ in certain aspects, but all ultimately embody the same underlying theme of the oppression and liberation.
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The aura of oppression surrounding these women is soon to be mutually transformed as liberation takes its place in each of these three works. In The Story of An Hour with the news of her husband’s transition, Louise feels she is finally released from her bondage, but when she finds her husband has not truly departed she is forced to renounce her freedom, and only through dying is she able to find true liberation. Her original cries of freedom are echoed in Gaslight when Paula finally finds her inner strength and channels her rightful indignation towards her husband in a powerful poetic statement at the end of the film. Her liberation mirrors that of the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper who found freedom through madness. The old, off-putting, yellow paper with illogic lines twisted in a cage like pattern allegorically represents the prison that her husband has imposed upon her, and which she continues to remain caged within. Soon this wallpaper drives her completely mad; she is plagued by a tormenting obsession with the paper, and while at first she passionately hates it, she begins to accept and appreciate it. This is symbolic of the inner transformation that takes places within her; finding peace within herself, she will no longer allow herself to be bound by an oppressive husband. Through oppression