Women in 19th Century Literature

This paper discusses the short stories, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman, “The Storm” by Kate Chopin, and “Eveline” by James Joyce, which depict women’s lives in the 19th century society.

The paper describes and analyzes each of these short stories. The author feels that all of the three woman protagonists in the short stories represented women empowerment in their own manner, who achieved liberty to become themselves by going against the norms of the society, and by defying the people and the society that continue to repress them as free women in their respective societies.
The Storm also is a story that talks about women empowerment through freedom to express repressed love and longing for one’s true love. Calixta, the protagonist in the story, is a hardworking housewife, who experienced her life-changing experience one day, when a storm has occurred in their place. The storm in the story signifies the turbulent events that happened between Calixta and her old love, Alcee, when both experienced freedom for once in their lives and were able to release their love for each other, after they made love during the storm. Calixta’s old lover represents the wrong decisions and regrets that she had made in her life. The fact that both Calixta and Alcee were married when they had committed themselves to make love is a radical expression and defiance to the society’s norms about fidelity and trust to one’s spouse. Instead of looking at Calixta somewhat condemningly after she had committed adultery by making love with a married man like Alcee, what the readers will feel is that their brief encounter with each other, their brief expression of love for each other is justified.