In the stories Lust, Story of an Hour, A Rose for Emily, I Stand Here Ironing, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, and The Yellow Wallpaper there was a strong undertone of oppression and lack of development. All of these poor girls in the stories are being oppressed-not only physically, but mentally and socially as well. This oppression causes them all to not fully develop as functional individuals and leads them to their own eventual downfall. Lust In the story of Lust, by Susan Minot, the main character is a young girl who feels the need to put out.
She interprets society as telling her that she needs to be sexually active in order to not be alone. It is this kind of social oppression that creates her complex and does not develop relationship skills. She sleeps around and never gets attached. She realizes that this is what is tearing her up emotionally. "The more girls a boy has, the better - for a girl, with each boy it's like a petal gets plucked each time". really demonstrates how she interprets societies' pressures.
In her warped understanding she doesn't get the chance to develop what a healthy relationship is. Then in the end of the story, we are hit with "You begin to feel like a piece of pounded veal - fill up with an overwhelming sadness". This demonstrates she knows it is wrong but she still does not know what right actually is. A Rose for Emily A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner has many levels of oppression. Emily is a girl who grew up in a delusional southern aristocracy setting. This created many rules that only applied to her.
Her Father does not help matters. Our only impression we get of him is in the picture "her father a straddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip". With this imagery of his back turned and a whip we are lead to believe he was a very cold and strict man. The whip also signifies he likes to assert his control on others. So growing up under these conditions, these oppressions, has lead Emily to not develop properly and become very "high maintenance" per se'. After her father passes away she meets a man named Homer Baron.
She falls in love and attaches herself to Homer because he is the only one she has been able to get. When he decides this isn't the situation for him, Emily loses it; she poisons Homer then keeps his body locked in a room. "The man himself lay in the bed - What was left of him - Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head - One of us lifted something from it - a long strand of iron-gray hair". She was still attached, until death do we part? Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Carol Oates also demonstrates the theme of oppression and a lack in development on the part of a girl.
Connie is just a teenager starting off but already she is constantly being compared to her immaculate sister. "Why don't you keep your room clean like your sister? How " ve you got your hair fixed - what the hell stinks? Hair spray? You don't see your sister using that junk" Her mother kills her attempts to be herself which is oppression. In that environment Connie creates a submissive front to shrug off her family instead of developing healthily.
I think this submissive front breeds a wild streak for when she is in public. This is her release from her home life. When Arnold Friend comes into the picture, he recognizes this and uses it. He pays attention and compliments her. Then when he comes by when she is alone. She doesn't know how to handle it and she inevitably hides behind her front because she never developed a way to fend off people like him.
I Stand Here Ironing I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen. What is really happening here is that there is this poor single mother trying to raise her family on her own. Today this wouldn't seem anything out of the usual, but in the time it takes place this was socially unacceptable. So she is standing at an ironing board recalling her struggle with society, which is represented by an imaginary social worker. She does not try to rationalize but she does not exactly face reality either. And it is not just her who is being oppressed.
Her daughter, who is taken and through being part of the system really cannot develop correctly; the mother is told that because she can not offer her daughter all the luxuries of the time she can not and will not grow up to be anything. Blame it all on her because she made a few bad decisions. That mentality was strong in the 1930's-50's time frame from which this story was written. She remains remarkably resilient but still isn't able to function. The Yellow Wallpaper The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Gilman is the best example of oppression in every way. There are several forces at work here.
Her controlling husband, society's treatment for mental illness, and even her herself all contributed to her deterioration. Everyone in her life seems to be there for her while completely abandoning her. She suffers from temporary nervous depression. At this time, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell was advocating social isolation as a treatment for her mental illness. It was a combination of factors, society's isolation, her husband treating her as a child, "he laughs at me about this wallpaper", and the catalyst, the horrible wallpaper that she obsessed over, that finally caused her to snap and lose all grip on reality.
Story of an Hour Finally a Story of an Hour, by Chopin holds true to the theme of oppression leading to a lack of development. This story takes place around the turn of the twentieth century. Mrs. Mallard is trapped in a controlling, dead end marriage and there was nothing she could do about it. At the time socially, it was unacceptable for a divorce. With both of these oppressing forces, she had grown to deeply resent her marriage with Brently. "She was young, with a fair, calm face-But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gazed was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky".
Directly emphasizes how she has been oppressed. She felt the need to be out and about again, and the blue sky off yonder represented that to her, freedom. When she was presented with the news that Brently was no more she was overjoyed. "Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering". Then when Brently showed up alive and all her hopes suddenly crushed.
She refused to go back, the ultimate way to say no, she "died of heart disease - of joy that kills". All the stories illustrate the power and emphasis people put in one another and the oppressive powers people can have. A single person can do as much damage to someone's mind as an entire society. The poor girls in these stories come from all walks of life and all end up dysfunctional and underdeveloped because of that power.