The Symbols Showcased In The Yellow Wallpaper And Story Of An Hour

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

A symbol is a literary device that contains several layers of meaning. The symbol is using an object or action that means something more than its literal meaning. In the short stories “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” both have it significant symbols, the open window in “The Story of an Hour” and funny enough the wallpaper in “The Yellow Wall-Paper” In each story both women are in similar circumstances, where they feel their husband has too much demand and control. Where they cannot hold onto their freedom.

As the short story, “The Story of an Hour” moves into the wife’s room we are aware of the existence of the window in the room and its meaning. The open window in “The Story of an Hour” symbolizes a feeling of a possibility and strength of being alive. The landscape and natural life around her used in the description of her surroundings shows examples and evidence toward the symbol meaning. In the short story “The Yellow Wall-Paper” the yellow paper is symbolizes something that affects her directly. At the start of the short story we could tell the yellow wallpaper resembled something unclean or dirty yellow. It connected to the woman herself and what is going through her mind. As the story prolongs we learn more about the wallpaper and how the descriptions show the true mental state of the women and how crazy she is.

In “The Story of an Hour” we learn that Louise’s husband has passed away. She goes to her room, shuts the door behind her, and lets out her emotions. Positive or negative, her emotions connect to the window in the room. The open window from which she gazes for most of the story represents the opportunities and freedom that awaits her after her husband has passed. Outside the window, Louise spots blue sky, fluffy clouds, and treetops. She smells a coming rainstorm and hears people and birds singing. Everything that she experiences through her senses suggests joy and spring new life. Yet, how can that be? Her significant other has just passed away. Where is the joy from that? When she thinks about the sky, she feels the first time in long time happiness. Once she fully gets into this excitement, she senses that the open window is providing her with life itself. A new beginning. The open window shows a bright, clear view into the distant future and what it is to hold. A new future that isn’t filled with the demands of another person. When Louise turns away from the window and the scenery, it is no coincidence that she loses her freedom.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is focused on the narrator’s senses that the wallpaper is an object she must interpret into something that affects her directly. Throughout the story, it takes time for the wallpaper to develops its meaning and symbolism. At first, it seems just something unpleasant. It is ripped, dirty, and an “unclean yellow.” The worst part is the unshaped pattern, which attempts the narrator to figure out how it is organized. After staring at the paper for hours, she sees a ghostly sub-pattern behind the main pattern, visible only in a different light. Eventually, the hidden pattern comes into focus as a desperate woman, constantly crawling, looking for an escape from behind the main pattern, which has come to resemble the bars of a cage. The narrator sees this cage as decorated with the heads of many women, all of whom were strangled as they tried to escape. The wallpaper represents the structure of the family and in which the narrator finds herself trapped.

The two stories and their symbols both connect to the main character’s mental state. The open window in “The Story of an Hour” directs the character’s mind to the idea of happiness, joy and new beginnings. While in “The Yellow Wall-Paper” the wallpaper makes the character’s mental state look even crazier and desperate. Both characters are going through a rough state, through different circumstances, yet the


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