What are the differences and similarities between "The Yellow Wallpaper" and A Doll's House?

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Both Nora Helmer and the narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper " are treated like children by their husbands; however, Nora initially submits to this treatment rather passively while the narrator does not. Both husbands call their wives by diminutive pet names like "little lark" or "little squirrel" for Nora...

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Both Nora Helmer and the narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" are treated like children by their husbands; however, Nora initially submits to this treatment rather passively while the narrator does not. Both husbands call their wives by diminutive pet names like "little lark" or "little squirrel" for Nora and "blessed little goose" for the narrator. Both Nora and the narrator get angry with their husbands but at different points in their stories. Nora truly awakens to her powerlessness as Torvald's wife when he responds so horribly to the knowledge of what she'd done. She tells him quite plainly that he had treated her like a "doll" (as her father before him had done), a treatment to which she is no longer willing to submit. She subsequently abandons her family in search of herself. The narrator on the other hand gets angry with John, her husband and doctor, at the beginning of her narrative, though she is made to believe that such anger is "irrational" and so she does not dwell on it. In the end, the restful treatment which was supposed to cure her of her "temporary nervous depression" actually causes her to completely lose track of her own identity. She comes to believe that she is a woman who she has freed from the wallpaper of her bedroom (a room in which she's been, alarmingly, confined for some months). Both women do end up achieving a kind of freedom from their old identities and lives; however, Nora's feels like a victory while the narrator's feels quite tragic and sad.

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Both Ibsen's A Doll's House and Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" were groundbreaking treatments of women's rights in their time. More specifically, each deals with the role of the wife in relation to her husband.

Both husbands, John and Torvald, treat their wives like children. As a result, their wives end up undermining their husbands' authority.

Gilman's anonymous narrator resists John's instructions to rest. Instead, she continues journaling about her experiences, but she does so secretively. It is a quiet resistance, but a resistance that keeps the madness at bay. Unfortunately, even after journaling about her desire for freedom, she ultimately falls prey to insanity. She has not gained independence from her illness nor from her husband.

Nora, on the other hand, succeeds in gaining independence. Like the anonymous narrator, she resists her husband, but the end result is different. Nora recognizes her husband's dedication to patronizing her and his unwillingness to acknowledge her sacrifice. Unhindered by mental illness, she decides to leave him. She escapes the "doll's house." Gilman's narrator, however, does not.

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