The narrator (Jane) of The Yellow Wallpaper and the character Edna Pontellier from The Awakening and Louise Mallard of The Story of an Hour are equally trapped within the boundaries of male domination. These boundaries come from their husbands, whom will not allow them to right to express themselves as individuals. They are to be “the wives” and nothing more. Not content with the situation, these women try to break away from the stereotype.
Edna Pontellier leaves her husband, Leonce due to her discontentment with confinement and lack of growth. She has an affair with Robert Lebrun knowing, yet not caring what society will have to say. This reveals her breaking away from oppression and risks her ordinary life in order to do so.
Jane who is recooperating from an illnes is dominated by her husband. She is only allowed to rest in a room of a rented mansion where she comes to face reality. As she stares at the yellow wallpaper, she begins to see a similarity between the wallpapers pattern and the bars in which women are trapped behind. She realizes the oppression of woman, yet does not go to the extremes (like Edna) of breaking away from society. However ; when Jane begins to peel off pieces of the wallpaper, it symbolizes a small step into freedom.
Louise Mallard comes to find her husband has died in a train accident. As she discovers the news, she is immediately shocked and saddened. However ; looking out the window, Louise realizes she is free from male domination. The freedom she possesses now makes her feel as if she is no longer confined. When she discovers Mr. Mallard has not died, she dies of a sudden heart attack, symbolizing her need for freedom.
Jane, Edna, and Louise all feel idle within their boundaries. Although each dealt with their oppression in different ways, they all broke loose in someway from the woman’s role in society and realized their need for freedom.