Leslie Marmon Silko Lullaby Critical Essays On Kate

“Lullaby” first appeared in Storyteller (1981), a book in which Silko interweaves autobiographical reminiscences, short stories, poetry, photographs of her family (taken by her father) and traditional songs. The book as a whole is concerned with the oral tradition of storytelling in Native American culture. Through a variety of formats, Silko attempts to reproduce the effect of oral storytelling in a written English form. She is also concerned with the transformative power of storytelling in the lives of her characters and the role of storytelling in maintaining cultural traditions and intergenerational ties, particularly in a matrilineal line from grandmother to granddaughter. Because of this focus, the physical surroundings of the action of “Lullaby” are not central to its narrative. The story begins with Ayah, an old Native American woman, leaning against a tree near a stream, reminiscing about some of the most tragic events of her life, as well as about the role of her grandmother in some of the most happy events of her life: “She was an old woman now, and her life had become memories.” She recalls watching her mother weaving outside on a big loom, while her grandmother spun wool into yarn. She remembers her mother and the old woman who helped her give birth to her first child, Jimmie. Yet she also recalls the time the white man came to her door to announce that Jimmie had died in a helicopter crash in the war. Because Ayah could not speak English, her husband, Chato, had to translate the tragic news to her. As Ayah reminisces about her life, including the loss of her children, the eventual rift between her husband and herself, and other tragic losses, the narrative slowly catches up to the present. In recent years, Ayah and Chato have begun receiving federal assistance checks in order to survive-Chato would immediately cash the check and go spend it at the bar. In the present tense of the story, Ayah goes there to look for him. When she does not find him there, she goes out in the snow to search for him, and comes upon him walking toward home. When they stop to rest, he lies down in the snow, and she realizes that he is dying. She tucks a blanket around him and begins to sing a lullaby her grandmother had sung when she was little: “And she sang the only song she knew how to sing for babies. She could not remember if she had ever sung it to her children, but she knew that her grandmother had sung it and her mother had sung it.”

Feminist Themes in Silko's Yellow Woman and Choplin's Story of an Hour

  • Length: 513 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Comparing Feminist Themes in Silko's Yellow Woman and Choplin's Story of an Hour

Yellow Woman and the story of an hour by Kate Choplin have some feminist themes in common. Silko and Mrs. Mallard exhibited Characteristics that conflicted with their natural roles in life. They seemed to be confined by their marriage. With prospects of not being married again, they exhibited feelings of freedom and exhilaration instead of unhappiness.

When Silko was left alone in the morning, she had a chance to go home to her family but she did not go. This shows that she was not being held against her will. At the death of Mrs. Mallard's husband, she felt a deep sorrow but she also felt free. As Choplin puts it, "She said it over and over again; free, free, free!"(200). She felt that her husband's death had liberated her fro a kind of prison and she was free to assert herself and do things she wanted to do. Silko did not seem to be very disturbed at being away from home. She did not even consider her presence important for the baby. Silko conveyed this impression when she said, "My mother and grandmother will raise the baby. Al will find someone else and they will go on like before" (191). This shows that women might not always be satisfied in the roles they are playing in society. The society expects them to fit into this moulds and be a perfectly happy mother or wife as they case maybe. They act the roles out but they might be interested in some other things. The Structures of male dominance pervade every aspect of the society. Instead of asserting themselves, most women bend to there husband's will.

Contemplating her freedom after her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard said " there will be powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature" (200). This contributed to her sense of being free when her husband died. The same male dominance is shown in Yellow Woman when Silver told Silko "You don't understand, do you, little yellow woman? You will do what I want" (190). It was as if Silko was not a person and could not have a will of her own. Silko's sense of her own unimportance is also reflected in her assumption that she will be easily replaced by her husband.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Feminist Themes in Silko's Yellow Woman and Choplin's Story of an Hour." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
Oppression of Women in Chopin's Story of an Hour and Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper - Oppression of Women in Chopin's Story of an Hour and Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper   "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman share the same view of the subordinate position of women in the late 1800's. Both stories demonstrate the devastating effects on the mind and body that result from an intelligent person living with and accepting the imposed will of another. This essay will attempt to make their themes apparent by examining a brief summery of their stories and relating them to their personal histories....   [tags: Story Hour Yellow Wallpaper Essays Papers]
:: 7 Works Cited
1254 words
(3.6 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
The Main Themes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper - The Main Themes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper The short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a woman who is suffering from depression (probably post-natal) and a nervous breakdown. Whilst trying to recover in an isolated country house, her condition deteriorates as her paranoia takes over. Her condition is not helped by the fact that her husband has forced her to inhabit a room with irritating features, namely the wallpaper. The story contains themes of entrapment, resignation, paranoia and the male domination of the time....   [tags: Papers]1212 words
(3.5 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
The Oppression of Wives in Chopin's The Story of an Hour and Gillman's The Yellow Wallpaper - Writings from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s often depict husbands as controlling. This would lead to the demise of their wives. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman the husband’s insistence upon control, leaves their wives longing for the freedom of simple expression. “The Story of an Hour” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” illustrates how the husband is the controlling figure in the marriage. The two short stories also expose how the oppression put on them by their husband leaves the women unfulfilled and unhappy with their lives....   [tags: The Story of an Hour, The Yellow Wallpaper]955 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Compare and Contrast Women in The Yellow Wallpaper and Story of an Hour - Compare and Contrast Women Characters in The Yellow Wallpaper and Story of an Hour       Women have traditionally been known as the less dominant sex.  Through history women have fought for equal rights and freedom.  They have been stereotyped as being housewives, and bearers and nurturers of the children.  Only recently with the push of the Equal Rights Amendment have women had a strong hold on the workplace alongside men.  Many interesting characters in literature are conceived from the tension women have faced with men.  This tension is derived from men; society, in general; and within a woman herself.  Two interesting short stories, “The  Yellow Wall-paper and “The Story of an Hour, “...   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper Story of an Hour]
:: 4 Works Cited
1712 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Dissatisfaction in Marriage in the Late 1800's Essays - In 1892 Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a short story titled “The Yellow Wallpaper” soon after that in 1894 Kate Chopin wrote a short story titled “The Story of an Hour”. In both of these stories the author presents women who feel trapped by their husbands. Both the unnamed narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a woman with rising mental issues, and Mrs. Mallard a happily married woman, are controlled by their husbands, and both find themselves finding freedom at a very high cost. Once they have that freedom, they are no longer able to enjoy it, do to, the unconventional way that they achieve it....   [tags: Literary Themes]
:: 2 Works Cited
1072 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper - The women in The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper attempt to overcome their oppression by finding an outlet. They tried to find something or do something that would comfort them. In The Story of an Hour, the window is the main symbol. Correspondingly, in The Yellow Wallpaper, the wallpaper itself is the main symbol. In The Story of an Hour, the window is what symbolizes Mrs. Mallard’s freedom in that she has new opportunities. She says that she is finally free, “free body and soul.” She says this because she realizes that she is finally free from her husband....   [tags: The Story of an Hour]353 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Freedom for Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin - Freedom for Women in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gillman and 'The Story of an Hour' by Kate Chopin are two feminist works in which liberation is the overlying theme. Both of the main characters achieve freedom from their husbands' oppression in these short stories; however, freedom is only achieved through insanity in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and death in 'The Story of an Hour.' The women in these stories are viewed as very powerful, as they do whatever it takes to free themselves from the oppressive holds of their husbands....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper Gillman Hour Chopin Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1218 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Leslie Marmon Silko's Lullaby, Storyteller, and Yellow Woman Essay example - Leslie Marmon Silko's Lullaby, Storyteller, and Yellow Woman Leslie Marmon Silko?s work is set apart due to her Native American Heritage. She writes through ?Indian eyes. which makes her stories very different from others. Silko is a Pueblo Indian and was educated in one of the governments. BIA schools. She knows the culture of the white man, which is not uncommon for modern American Indians. Her work is powerful and educating at the same time.      In this paper, I will discuss three different works by Silko (Lullaby, Storyteller, and Yellow Woman)....   [tags: Silko Lullaby Storyteller Yellow Woman Essays]845 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Essay about Wives in Silko's Yellow Woman and Chopin's The Story of an Hour - The Roles of Wives in Silko's Yellow Woman and Chopin's The Story of an Hour The predominant feminist theme that stood out for me in the story 'Yellow woman' by Leslie Marmon Silko and 'The story of an hour' by Kate Chopin relates to the protagonists' expectations of fulfilling thier roles as wives. The two women struggle with what they should think, what is appropriate for them to feel in their circumstances and the obvious restrictions on their freedom. In 'Yellow woman', the protagonist struggles with her feelings for Silva and the nagging thoughts of her husband and her baby at home....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]441 words
(1.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay about Contrasting Silko's Yellow Woman and Chopin's Story of an Hour - Contrasting Silko's Yellow Woman and Chopin's Story of an Hour On the surface, the protagonists of Silko's "Yellow Woman" and Chopin's "Story of an Hour" seem to have little in common. Yet upon closer inspection, both stories relate tales of women who are repressed by the social tenets that define their roles as wives. From the viewpoint of Western society, the narrator of "Yellow Woman" might be considered immoral for her willing sexual encounter with a stranger. However, the stories related by her grandfather of the Yellow Woman demonstrate within her culture a more accepting attitude of her brief interlude: "Yellow Woman went away with the spirit from the north and lived with him and hi...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]499 words
(1.4 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Feminist Themes         Yellow Woman         Silko         Hour         Other Things         Go Home         Mrs. Mallard         Male Dominance        

Silko and Mrs. Mallard were portrayed negatively in the essay. Silko was portrayed as a spineless Woman who could not decide whether she should stay with her lover or go back to her family. She was also portrayed as a Woman with no Moral values. However, the negative attributes were made to look good in the essay with the use of ancient folklores. At her husband's death, instead of Mrs. Mallard to grieve and mourn for her husband, she was anticipating her freedom. The death of Mrs. Mallard at the end of the story was also a portrayal of her inability to handle life situations.

0 thoughts on “Leslie Marmon Silko Lullaby Critical Essays On Kate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *