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

Both works explore the themes of female oppression and gender inequality. In Gilman's short story, the narrator/protagonist is at the complete mercy of her intolerant, authoritative husband, who refuses to listen to her concerns regarding her mental health. She is forced to remain idle in the attic of their rented country dwelling as she suffers from postpartum depression. She continually attempts to express her thoughts and concerns regarding the "rest cure" but her voice is suppressed and her thoughts are ignored. The narrator is treated like a sensitive young child, who does not know what is best for herself and must be protected and cared for by a responsible man. Her overbearing husband treats her like a possession and refuses to acknowledge her opinions.

As a woman in the late nineteenth-century society, the narrator lacks independence and control over her life, which is similar to how Nora Helmer is treated in Ibsen's A Doll's House. Nora Helmer is treated like a naive child and she conforms to her role as mother and wife for the majority of the play. She is also at the complete mercy of her husband and lacks independence. Nora's husband, Torvald, treats her like a possession and does not respect her opinions. Unlike the narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper," Nora is not driven insane and makes the dramatic decision to embrace her independence by leaving her insensitive, callous husband. Despite the dramatically different outcomes, both works address female oppression and gender equality in nineteenth-century society.

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

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."

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What are the similarities and differences between "The Yellow Wallpaper" and The Scarlet Letter?

These are two very disparate pieces of literature. Aside from the former being a short story and the latter a novel, both take place within two very different times: The Scarlet Letter is a novel that deals with Puritan life in Massachusetts in the 1600s, while "The Yellow Wallpaper" takes place in a colonial mansion (perhaps in Providence, Rhode Island) in the late 19th-century. In terms of setting, both are New England tales.

Gilman wrote the "The Yellow Wallpaper" during what was probably her own experience of what we now call post-partum depression. The tale was a reaction to medical science's explanations for emotional disturbances among women, and particularly accepted cures for "hysteria." In Gilman's case, her doctor recommended that she embrace all things domestic. She creates a character in her story who does exactly this. The result is that she goes mad, but also experiences a lucid epiphany: she is imprisoned by domesticity. 

It is important, too, that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is narrated by a female protagonist. Nathaniel Hawthorne, on the other hand, creates a third-person omniscient narrator who tells the story of Hester Prynne.

The only way in which the works are similar is in their explorations of female identity, and the ways in which women have been oppressed by the social expectations of certain times. Of course, in The Scarlet Letter, Hester's transgression is a flagrant one, even by modern standards: she commits the sin of adultery and has a child as a result of the encounter. In Gilman's story, the struggle is that of a woman who wants to write, but is discouraged by her doctors and her husband, John. Both female characters wish to live according to their own desires, a wish that is socially unacceptable.

If you are going to do a comparative analysis of these works, I would consider giving both a feminist reading. With "The Yellow Wallpaper," this is easy because it is a tale with an explicitly feminist message. However, be sure to remember that Hawthorne and Gilman employ different literary devices and probably have different agendas in their telling of these stories. 

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

The key similarity is that the two literary works feature women who are in some way subjugated by their husbands, whether directly or indirectly. The key difference is the type of subjugation that each woman endures, and how each of the characters responds to it.

In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the unnamed narrator is a woman suffering through postpartum depression. Her husband, as well as her doctor, decide that the best cure for her is to be isolated with zero stimulus. Slowly, the woman implodes under the care of men who do not realize what she really needs. In this case, the narrator believes that her husband wants the best for her but simply does not understand what that entails. She is right. Still, she abides by the expected female mandates imposed by society and his decisions. In the end, she loses her mind and has a meltdown.

In A Doll's House Nora Helmer is a housewife who makes an ethically dubious sacrifice to save her husband's life and lives in constant fear of finding out what would happen if he were to find out. Like the character in "The Yellow Wallpaper," Nora abides by all the strict expectations imposed upon the women of her time. She obeys her husband, acts like a perfect wife and mother, and believes that, if anything were to happen to her regarding what she did, her husband would chivalrously take care of her to keep the family together.

When he finally does find out about Nora's dealings with Krogstad, even though the sacrifice was done for his benefit, he is not grateful about it. Torvald overlooks the sacrifice, focusing on the fact that Nora broke a social rule in the process. Nevertheless, she was still expected to follow the social expectations bestowed upon women and remain in a marriage where she is clearly not appreciated. In the end, even an apology from Torvald is not enough to change Nora's mind. She is done with the charade. She abandons her husband and children, and the reader makes assumptions as to what end she meets.

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

The similarities are in the period, the limited setting (all happens in one location in both works—in a home/house), symbolic issues related to the setting, a triggering event around illness or medical intervention in the family, and, especially, the focus on female subjugation, and the desire/attempt to break free.  There are several differences between these two works. The most basic is form: one is a play, and one a story told by the main character. This means viewers get what Nora externalizes—what she says and does—while the narrator of Gilman's story shares thoughts as well. After that, the nature of their rebellion. Nora is emotional at the play's start, and plays at being mindless. The woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" starts rational, and ends up mad.

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

In both the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" and the play A Doll's House, we have a Victorian-era female protagonist who is trapped in some way. For the narrator of "Yellow Wallpaper," she is more literally trapped in a room where she is supposed to be taking the "rest cure" for depression. For Nora of A Doll's House, she is trapped into a prescriptive feminine role that requires her to act submissive and almost childish while deceiving her husband at the same time.

The main difference between the two stories is that the short story's narrator descends into madness. Nora, on the other hand, "awakens" to her situation and decides to leave her husband and start a new life.

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