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The Storm and the Yellow Wallpaper - Literary Elements and Themes

  • Date Submitted: 02/12/2012 12:51 PM
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The Storm and The Yellow Wallpaper

In both “The Storm” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, literary elements such as symbolism and metaphor play big parts in explaining what the protagonists are going through.   The protagonist in each story is a woman who was repressed in her life.   Both characters have been driven to do the things that they may not have done had it not been for their respective repressive situations.   The authors use several literary elements, such as symbolism, point-of-view, and setting to show the repression of the women.

Chopin and Gilman both use symbolism and metaphor to explain exactly how the women felt.   The Storm is a story about an affair, and it uses the metaphor of a storm to represent the sexual repression that is clearly present in Calixta’s life.   “They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms” (Chopin 112).   This line describes how the crash of the storm symbolizes the passion between the illicit lovers.   The Yellow Wallpaper is a story about a woman who is mentally unhinged and who is put in isolation by her husband and doctor; it uses the wallpaper in her bedroom to symbolize both how she sees the world and how she sees herself.   “The front pattern does move—and no wonder!   The woman behind shakes it” (Gilman 445).   This describes the wallpaper as a metaphor for her own mental demise.   Setting also plays a huge role in both stories.   In The Storm, the very fact that she has an affair in her own home is symbolic as to what type of woman Calixta is, and the storm itself is a metaphor for the built up sexual tensions between Calixta and Alcee.   In The Yellow Wallpaper, the mansion is symbolic for the narrator’s life.   The woman who comes out of the wallpaper represents the narrator’s self trying to escape.  

The point-of-view of the stories is important as well.   In The Storm, a third party tells the story in order to give the...

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