“The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Cottagette” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman are stories you can say are the opposites of each other. One is set in a Utopia and the other in a Dystopia. In other words, one is positive and the other is negative. “The Cottagette” is more of a Utopian story due to the relaxed feeling you get from listening to the narrator’s happy lifestyle/point of view. “The Yellow Wallpaper” on the other hand is more Dystopian and involves a much more darker stance. This story is covered with emotions and the depressing life the narrator is living. The question however is what defines the two stories as a Utopian/Dystopian story. The answer to that is in the setting.
Let’s start off with the more depressing story. “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows clear signs of a setting that involves depression. One main setting feature that defines how the story is more negative is right in the beginning of the story. “A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house….” Judging from this one sentence, you already know things aren’t gonna look good. The scenery also shows darkness. Examples include the broken greenhouses and the lack of renovations in the house. Scent also is an attribute of setting. Within the mansion, lies a scent that “creeps all over the house.” Along with that scent, the weather is terrible with fog and rain that lasted the whole week. Pretty much my point here is the setting of this story is similar to something you will see in a scary movie.
Now let’s move to something more happier. “The Cottagette” is the opposite of “The Yellow Wallpaper” and is definitely for a fact much more pleasant and happier. Happiness is written all over this story. Anyways, the setting of this story is as the title says. We have here a cottage that is “far too small for a house, too pretty for a hut, too unusual for a cottage.” It may be unusual but hey, at least she likes it as seen when Malda says “”The Cottagette” I loved unreservedly.” as she listens to the music playing. The cottage was also “Little and new and clean, smelling only of its fresh-planed boards–they hadn’t even stained it.” Speaking of music, the musical scenery I would say plays a major role in the story because it adds more joyful thrill and enlightenment.
In the end, it’s obvious to say that these two stories are complete opposites. One is positive and the other is negative. One is dark and the other is light. The setting between the two stories define the differences between them. The main point is, the setting in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is something you’ll find in a scary movie, and the setting in “The Cottagette” is more something you’ll find in a happy romance.
I enjoyed ‘A Story of An Hour’ by Kate Chopin more than I did “Jury of Her Peers’ and the length was not the reason. Although shorter, A Story of An Hour gave more insight on Louise’s feelings better enabling the reader to connect to her. ‘Jury of Her Peers’ on the other hand gave us diverse characters letting us be the judge of them through their actions rather than internal feelings.
The two stories albeit being different were very similar. A key theme in the two stories would be the rebellion of women [against men]. From the clues given in the stories you can assume both Mrs. Mallard and Mrs. Wright were dominated by their husbands.
Mrs. Mallard in ‘The Story of An Hour’ hears the news of her husbands death but unlike other women doesn’t go into shock instead grieves. She goes through the stages of grief and comes into terms with the death. Realizing her new found freedom she has an epiphany and dreams of living her life for herself on her own accord rather than for her husband. The first thing mentioned in this story is her heart problems so it’s safe to assume this statement foreshadows her death. The news of her husbands death had no effect on her heart condition, so you can bet a bigger news would soon arrive. The ‘big news’ so to speak was the sudden arrival of Mr. Mallard, her husband, who turns out wasn’t dead after all. Mrs. Mallard, who at this point was elated and full of joy, gets shocked at seeing her husband alive gives out a cry and dies of a heart attack. “The joy that kills’
Mrs. Wright on the other hand is under question for the death of her husband. The story starts of with Mrs. Hale, Mr. Hale, The Sheriff and his wife [Mrs. Peters] going to Mrs. Wrights house. Mr. Hale tells the story of how he went the night before to ask Mr. Wright something in front of his wife, after knocking on the door a few times someone [Mrs. Wright] tells him to enter. He sees her sitting on the chair and asks her to call John, to which she laughs, and says she can’t. She then tells Mr. Hale John[Mr. Wright] is dead, a rope round his neck had killed him. They find clues in the house that indicated at the harsh demeanor of Mr. Wright towards Mrs. Wright. -he killed her pet bird- A key point in the story would be when Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peter were alone and had the conversation about John, the bird and Minnie Foster [Mrs. Wright] They spoke about John described him as ‘a harsh man… like raw wind that gets to the bone.’ They find the bird cage and then the bird itself, in a box with it’s neck wrung, in Minnie’s basket. They hid the box when the sheriff came back in the kitchen, Mrs. Hale knew Minnie Foster and said she liked the bird and wanted to bury it (justifying why the bird was in the box). Mrs. Peters claimed they didn’t know who killed the bird to which Mrs. Hale said she knew John. She convinced Mrs. Peters (who thought people should pay for their crimes) and they hid the evidence and gave Minnie a not guilty verdict.
In both stories the women rebelled against conformity [by going against their husbands]. Louise Mallard’s way was much more subtle than that of the ladies from ‘A Jury of Her Peers’ she internally rebelled by not going into shock over her husbands death but rather by overcoming it and finding her freedom. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters rebelled by hiding evidence and calling Mrs. Wright not guilty.
Just goes to show how two completely different stories can connect through similar aspects; husbands death and the sense freedom that came along with it as well as breaking the norm.