Imagery in “The Story of an Hour,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and Game of Thrones

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Oppressive Marriages: Comparing “Story of an Hour,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and Sansa Stark’s Journey in “Game of Thrones”

While “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” are two distinctly different stories written by separate authors, they share many of the same themes and elements. Both works depict a woman facing oppression through marriage and society, longing for freedom and autonomy. This theme is still very relevant and is at the center of Sansa Stark’s character arc in “Game of Thrones”.

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All three women face an oppressive society and desire freedom and independence.

In all three stories, marriage is depicted as unromantic and inherently oppressive towards women. In “The Story of an Hour”, Brently Mallard is not depicted as oppressive or abusive. However, her inner dialogue reveals that she didn’t feel free in her marriage and that she didn’t love her husband all that much: “And yet she had loved him—sometimes. Often she had not.” In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Jane’s husband, John, is domineering and has complete control over her. He makes all of her decisions for her, big or small, which causes Jane to lose control of her own life. Jane doesn’t like this, but she is unable to express her feelings: “He is very careful and loving and hardly lets me stir without special direction. I have a scheduled prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more.” In “Game of Thrones”, Sansa Stark is married twice to considerably older men. Both marriages were unromantic and oppressive, with Sansa being subjected to physical abuse and, at one point, being confined to a room in a tower by her husband. All three stories feature women who are stifled and oppressed by their husbands in some way.

Longing for Freedom: The Shared Desire of Louise, Jane, and Sansa

Louise, Jane, and Sansa all long for freedom and independence but are unable to obtain it because of their husbands. In “The Story of an Hour,” after Brently Mallard dies, Louise begins to fantasize about her future days of independence, and she develops a love for life that hadn’t been there before. Her inner monologue reveals that she used to “shudder” (570) at the thought that her life would be long. It is only after Louise feels free that she begins to be excited about life; she starts to fantasize about living for herself. Jane is very anxious to express herself but is unable to because of the strict rules her husband has implemented. She is unable to write, but she wishes to “relieve the press of ideas” (576) within her. Her need for expression is so powerful that she begins writing in a secret diary, which brings her relief. By the end of the story, her mental illness is exacerbated by her solitude, and being unable to properly express herself drives her to insanity. Sansa Stark is at one point confined in a locked room, unable to read, write, or talk to anybody except her husband. She is eventually able to escape with the help of a servant, but she risks her life to do so. Louise, Jane, and Sansa all desire independence and individuality but are subjected to positions of inferiority.

“Weak” Women in Oppressive Societies: Louise, Jane, and Sansa’s Plight

Imagery in “The Story of an Hour,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and “Game of Thrones”: Reflections of the Characters’ Mental State
“The Story of an Hour,” “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and “Game of Thrones” all use symbolism and imagery to reflect their characters’ mental state. In “The Story of an Hour,” after learning about her husband’s death, Louise gazes out of an open window, and from the window, “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life” (Chopin). This scene symbolizes that the death of her husband gives her freedom, and she perceives her husband’s death as a new beginning for her.

In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the house and the wallpaper are symbolic of Jane’s mental state. The house itself is in an isolated location with many locks. “The most exquisite place! It stands alone, well back from the road, nearly three miles from the village. It reminds me of English places that you read about, with hedges, walls, lockable gates, and several little separate houses for the gardeners and people” (Gilman 572). Jane herself is isolated from everyone else mentally and eventually physically. The windows of her room have bars on them; she is trapped in her room just like she is trapped in her marriage.

The wallpaper is symbolic of the oppressive society that Jane lives in, entrapping women beneath it. Jane eventually believes that she is one of the women stuck by the wallpaper. Symbolically, Jane is confined by the society she lives in, shackled to a life that she has no control over. Sansa Stark’s confinement in a room symbolizes the restriction she feels in her marriage. As soon as their wedding night is over, Sansa’s husband, Ramsey, confines her to a room and only visits her at night. The room she is confined to is dimly lit by only one window, locked from the outside, and contains only a bed and a table with one chair. The gloomy, lonesome room mirrors the emotions she holds for her marriage and her husband. All three stories use impactful symbolism and imagery to delve deeper into the minds of their characters.

At first glance, it may seem that Louise Mallard, Jane, and Sansa Stark would have nothing similar among them. While all three characters are vastly different, written in separate years by separate people, their narratives share a common theme: women being oppressed, specifically by their husbands, but yearning for freedom. All three women combat oppression, living in an extremely patriarchal society. Despite the considerable differences since the late 1800s and medieval times, gender equality and the treatment of women continue to be significant and pertinent topics.


Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, edited by X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Pearson, 2016, pp. 570.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, edited by Nina Baym et al., W. W. Norton & Company, 2017, pp. 571-576.

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Imagery in "The Story of an Hour," "The Yellow Wallpaper," and Game of Thrones. (2023, Aug 01). Retrieved from