What is the big similarity between "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "A Doll's House"?

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pmiranda2857's profile pic

pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The two works are about women's rights, or the lack thereof for both main characters, Nora of The Doll House and the unnamed narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper.  Both women are confined by their marriages, one literally, in The Yellow Wallpaper, Nora, emotionally and intellectually in The Doll House. 

The similarities that the two works share has to do with the rights of women in the late 19th century. Women struggled for many decades in the second half of the 19th century to gain freedom from the control of their husbands.  In the 1840s, the Women's Movement began, women did not get the right to vote until 1920.

Both works illustrate the limited amount of freedom that women in this period had, both express how a woman could be under the complete control of her husband to the point of having no access to money of her own, property or employment opportunities.   

In The Yellow Wallpaper, the unnamed narrator is a woman who is confined in a room, suffering from a nervous condition or post-partum depression because she just had a baby.  She is controlled by her husband and her sister-in-law, she is not permitted to make her own decisions and her access to the outside world is limited to what her caretakers allow.

"Because the narrator is completely dependent on her husband and is allowed no other role than to be a wife and mother, she represents the secondary status of women during the nineteenth century."

In A Doll's House, Nora, the wife in the story or the "doll" is dominated completely by her husband Torvald who refers to her with pet names like Squirrel and singing lark.  He treats her like a child, a possession and he never considers that she is a thinking individual.

"She is viewed as an object, a toy, a child, but never an equal. Her problem is that she is totally dependent upon her husband for all her needs; or she deceives herself into thinking so until the end of the play."


jessica2009's profile pic

jessica2009 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

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I think that the yelllow wall paper depicted a woman who believed that there actually was someone/something living in the walls. Thats just a like a kid thinking that their doll house and the dolls are real. The woman sickness had her imagination running wild.

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