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The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1378 words - 6 pages

“The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Turned” are both short stories by the American author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, written in the late nineteenth century. Both stories are based on a particular incident in the lives of two married women.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” follows an unidentified woman who is possibly suffering from postpartum psychosis. She is put to “rest cure” by her physician husband and is locked inside a room covered in yellow wallpaper. Stuck inside the room, forbidden any intellectual activity, the woman becomes delusional and likely schizophrenic. The story technically tries to prove how unsuccessful “rest cure” is for mental illnesses, which was a popular treatment method during Gilman’s time. “Turned”, on the other hand, revolves around Mrs.Marroner whose husband has committed adultery with the servant, Gerta. Struggling between whom to blame and whom to trust, she finally realizes that Mr.Marroner, in fact took advantage of Gerta's innocence and obedience; therefore, he is to blame. The story is quite controversial trying to change the social opinion that many wrong deeds involving a man and a woman are involved, are the woman’s fault.
Both stories have similarities and differences with regard to the theme, characters, imagery, setting, writing style and allegory. Both stories emphasizes Gilman’s feminist viewpoint where themes of gender, female confinement and freedom play main roles. Sometimes the theme stands out quite literally yet the other times it is figurative. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the woman is imprisoned in a single room of a large house while her husband spends frequent nights outside in the town. In “Turned” Mrs.Marroner, an educated professional, keeps the house while her husband travels the world on business affairs. At the end both stories show how these women achieve their freedom in their own way: the narrator finally releases the woman trapped in the wallpaper and Mrs.Marroner leaves the house with Gerta.
Both stories are an allegory of women’s liberations where women are fighting for the rights of each other. Contrastingly, the stories use completely different imagery and symbols to describe this. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator’s ambition is to liberate the woman trapped behind the wallpaper. The wallpaper consists of various patterns including faces, bulbous eyes and even strings of toadstools. Amazingly these patterns change as the light changes, especially when the moon shines on it. By moonlight the patterns change into bars and she sees the woman behind the bars crawling and shape-shifting. She believes the woman is subdued in daylight because the pattern keeps her still. Here Gilman is trying to add a sense of horror and fantasy to the story, but at the same time she shows how a woman can understand another woman’s emotions. The narrator feels the desperation for freedom of the woman inside the wallpaper so much that she makes it her own mission to release her from it. “Turned”, on the other...

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