"In Endless Repetition": An Existence Decorated in Oppression in Ella Hepworth Dixon's The Story of a Modern Woman

  • Ellie Gilchrist


In Ella Hepworth Dixon’s The Story of a Modern
Woman (1894), decor is a metaphorical vehicle for what
critic Heather Kirk Thomas calls the “physiological and
emotional womb-to-tomb domestic restriction of nineteenth-century women” (1). Using a series of close readings and a parallel examination of the wallpaper in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,”
this essay explores how elements of the domestic spaces of
Mary Erle, the novel’s protagonist, serve as metaphors for
the oppression faced by women in a world that constricts
them to subordinate roles under men.