Comparative Essay: The Fall Of The House Of Usher By: Edgar Allan Poe And The Yellow Wall Paper By Mary Gilman

1146 words - 5 pages

Comparative Essay: The Fall of the House of Usher by: Edgar Allan Poe and The Yellow Wall-Paper by Mary Gilman) Coming to terms with ones fears is a constant and ongoing struggle which people face all throughout their lives. This is something Roderick Usher and the wife in "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Yellow Wall Paper" could not do. Roderick Usher was afraid the fall of the house of Usher was about to occur because he was the last remaining male descendant, and the wife was afraid her husband who treated her like a child. Roderick and the wife where two characters who were not able to deal with their fears in life, and this lead them down a path of unhappiness and struggles. Through the experiences of these characters the reader learns that the inability for people to recognize their innermost fears, initiates their descent from depression, to self-torture then ultimately, madness. One of Roderick Usher's fears is death. He is from a wealthy family and he has a fear that the Usher lines will not be passed on with only two descendants left. Roderick can see the grim future of the Usher family. He cannot seem to come to terms with his fear and he knows that the future is inevitable so he becomes depressed. His depression is symbolized by the setting of the story. A depressive atmosphere is first seen as the narrator travels to the house of Usher "a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn." (Poe, pg210) As the narrator gets closer to Roderick the setting becomes duller, darker and more depressive. The house is described as melancholy with vacant eye-like windows. The inside of the house has "Gothic archways"¦dark and intricate passages." (Poe, p.211) Probably the most depressing setting would be the actual room Roderick was in, it seemed as though he had enclosed himself in this dark room because he feared the outside world. "The windows were long, narrow and pointed"¦.dark draperies hung upon the walls"¦an irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all." (Poe, p.212) By confining himself in this room he was avoiding his fears. Similarly in "The Yellow-Wall Paper" the wife seems to be married to a husband who treats her like a child and she seems to have no opinion in the treatment of her illness. The wife appears to be scared of her husband because she puts up little resistance to being forced to stay in his room with patches of wallpaper. The wife cannot confront her fear of her husband so she allows herself to be enclosed in this room with patches of wallpaper. The wife soon becomes depressed as she describes the wallpaper as "one of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin." (Gilman, p. 107) She overcomes a feeling of unhappiness as she analyzes the pattern in this depressing room, but this allows her to focus on something else than her fear of her husband. By spending many hours analyzing and trying to find the secret behind...

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