ABSTRACTThis thesis examines the harmful results of male oppression on the female life and psyche in Kate Chopin?s The Awakening and Charlotte Perkins Gilman?s ?The Yellow Wallpaper.?The first section of this paper deals with the socio-historical context of the two texts: After giving a brief overview of Kate Chopin?s and Charlotte Perkins Gilman?s lives and writing careers, I provide a survey of recent research done on The Awakening and ?The Yellow Wallpaper.? I then discuss the phenomenon of American Victorianism, its key events, norms, and values, with particular focus on the situation of women in this period.The second section comprises the analyses of the two texts: I first examine the various female concepts presented in The Awakening and ?The Yellow Wallpaper.? Secondly, I point out the social as well as physical barriers that establish the protagonists? positions as captives of their environment, and explain how these forms of captivity are depicted in Chopin?s novel and Gilman?s short story. Thirdly, I discuss whether the fate of both women can be interpreted as punishment for their non-conformity or as personal triumph over the oppressive patriarchal structures in late 19th-century Victorian society.In creating the characters of Edna Pontellier, who strives for freedom and autonomy, and the intellectual female narrator-protagonist of ?The Yellow Wallpaper?, both authors criticize the limited opportunities for women at the turn of the twentieth century, question the universality of existing social constructs as regards women, and point out the necessity for the emergence of new female role models: Women who resist conforming to their male contemporaries? ideas of femininity. Eventually, both women spiritually triumph over their condition of conformity and confinement, but their physical conditions ? death and insanity ? suggest that society is not yet ready to accept new types of women like them.