Write an essay (250-300 words) based on ONE of the following questions:
- “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892) and “The Story of an Hour” (1891) were written during the transitional period in which issues of women’s civil rights and suffrage were hotly debated and women’s access to higher education and entrance to careers outside of domestic work demanded. These two stories provide valuable insights into the predicaments of married middle-class white women in the late 19th-century America. Compare and contrast these two stories and their similar or different ways of protesting against the limited and constraining roles allotted to women during that time. Why do both two stories take place inside a house, and almost entirely within one room of that house? Why do “patches of blue sky” or gazing out a window play a significant part in the action?
- Alienation is the theme of both “A Hunger Artist” and “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” Compare and contrast these two stories; examine the details that describe the two protagonists’ loneliness and frustration; their futile interactions with the people that surround them. Why is the panther more popular than the hunger artist? Similarly, why does the spider girl “defeat” the “haughty angel who scarcely deigned to look at mortals”? If these two stories are allegorical, what kind of message do these two authors want to deliver to their readers?