A Rose For Emily And The Yellow Wallpaper

2236 words - 9 pages

The stories, “A Rose for Emily” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” both display how external dominance, isolation, and judgment from the outside world may cause one to lose their right mind. In both stories, the main characters begin to sink into further isolation from the outside world, leaving reality in the past.
The point of view of each story is told from a firsthand account of the events that occur. In “A Rose for Emily,” the story is told from an outsider’s point of view, someone who has watched and observed all that is written down. Perhaps the narrator is one of Emily’s past lovers or someone who has heard these stories simply from small town gossip. Either way, we immediately trust this narrator because they are speaking directly to the reader. Faulkner uses words such as “we” and “everybody,” a communal point of view. In doing so, the narrator automatically appears to be more reliable because this is what “everybody” thinks.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” also has a first person narration. However, the story is told from the main characters diary. Everything that we read consists of Jane’s feelings, thoughts and consciousness, or unconsciousness. Since we are reading what Jane has written in her diary, the story is told in present tense.
The setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper” takes place in what I believe is a mental hospital. The reader quickly realizes the lack of stability that Jane possesses. Jane is given complete authority in the telling of the story, however in reality, she has very little control over what she’s allowed to do. John, her husband and physician, does not let Jane think for herself. “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special attention” (Faulkner 341).
In both stories, there is a strong sense of male dominance. Miss Emily was controlled by her father before he passed away. “We remembered all of the young men her father had driven away” (Faulkner 316). We note that Miss Emily never married and was a recluse from the townspeople until the day she died. She was isolated from her town, abandoned by her father, and judgment fell upon her from every watchful eye of that small town.
The whole structure of this story suggests a sense of gloom and darkness. Look at how she is described, “…a small, fat women in black…her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two small pieces of coal” (Faulkner 315). Her house was dark and dusty. Isolation is apparent from the beginning to end of the story.
In the same way, Jane is literally placed in a big empty room, in isolation from everyone else in the house. Gilman gives us glimpses of Jane’s confinement as the story progresses. Look at how her room is described. “…the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls” (Gilman 341). This suggests that Jane is placed in a mental hospital room. There are bars on the windows so she cannot escape, and rings on the walls to keep her from...

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