Analysis Of A Rose For Emily, By William Faulkner And The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

3436 words - 14 pages

In the short stories “A Rose for Emily” written by William Faulkner and “The Yellow Wallpaper”” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the protagonists experience mental illness, loneliness, feelings of being in control of their lives, and feelings of being insane. Both main characters struggle against male domination and control. The two stories take place in the late 1800’s - early 1900’s, a time where men’s place in society was superior to that of women. Each story was written from a different perspective and life experiences. “A Rose for Emily” was written by a man and told in third personal narration, while “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written by a female and told in first person.
In “A Rose for Emily” Miss Emily Grierson faces the struggle of living a life in the shadow of her father. The earliest is instance is alluded on page 120, where she is a figure in the background with father “in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip.” While this story is set in the time of horse and buggy, his domineering image and the whip bring to mind a girl who was under constant threat of a beating. Her father also isolated her by chasing off any suitors as not being good enough for her (Faulkner, 123). Her father had a fallout with family over her great aunt’s estate so she is left her isolated from her any of her kin (Faulkner, 125). When her father dies it is his death seems to be the stress that pushes her over the edge. For three days she denied to those that came to offer their condolences that he was dead before she finally broke down (Faulkner, 124). For whatever the reason she falls in love for a foreman named Homer Barron who comes to town to pave the sidewalks. They are seen together and she buys him gifts that leave people to think that they had been married. He however leaves her due do the two cousins who came to live with her/them. The two cousins are forced to leave by Miss Emily with help from the townsfolk who could not stand the cousins. Homer is seen sneaking back into the house once the cousins are gone, and Miss Emily is not going to let him leave her again. Her insanity has driven her to the point that she poisons him one evening and lies in an embrace with him.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” tells of the journey into insanity (brought on by postpartum depression?) of a physician’s wife. Persuaded by her husband that there is nothing wrong with her, only temporary nervous depression, a diagnosis that is confirmed by her brother( Gilman, 647). What is telling is that she suspects perhaps her husband John is the reason she does not get well faster. She and/or we are led to believe that they have rented a colonial mansion for the summer for her to get well. She is however isolated in a home three miles from the village and on an island. (Gilman, 648). She wants to stay in the downstairs room with roses and pretty things, but her husband insists on the room at the top of the house ostensibly because it...

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