Document Type

Senior Award Winner

Award Date

Spring 2010

Course Name

The Idea of the Individual


Dr. Adam Kotlarczyk


Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” both initially published in 1899, present strikingly similar stories of the plight of women in society. Both texts adopt a markedly feminist bias, narrated from the point of view of a female protagonist who wrests with the restrictive conventions of a misogynistic society before finally breaking free through separation from the thinking world, via suicide in The Awakening and insanity in “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” Some would argue that the women themselves are flawed, through either mental instability or rampant libido, and thus the stories are skewed through the eyes of an unreliable narrator. Yet what is significant is the realization that both women would rather forsake sanity and life than endure the shackles of subjugation, because separation from the conscious world is the only way to achieve complete liberation in an oppressive androcentric society.