The short stories "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner illustrate the plight of women in a patriarchal society. The female characters in these stories are oppressed and dehumanized by the overbearing male influences in each of their lives. Both characters delve into insanity as an escape from the world that devalues them. Although these stories depict a similar era and theme, the portrayal of the female characters in each story is quite different, as are the authors of the stories themselves. Each author weaves into their stories their own perspective of women's lives at this time based on their own life experiences, but also on their own genders. The author's genders and view on their worlds greatly affects the way the female characters in these stories are depicted.
"A Rose for Emily" is a harrowing tale of an old maid, driven to grasp for that which she is robbed. Her controlling father rips away any chance of her forming a life outside of him, and when he dies, she is left with no one. Alone and betrayed, she finally meets a man, but discovers he is not interested in becoming committed to her. Faced with the awful lonely fate of a solitary life, she decides she shall not let him leave her, and takes action.
In "The Yellow Wallpaper" the narrator is driven to insanity by her husband's neglect. He denies that she is ill, and locks her in a room with no stimulus or pleasure."At first he meant to repaper the room,but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies (Gillman 56). " In personifying the wallpaper in her prison, she finally escapes her husband's grasp on her, but in doing so, also escapes reality.
Readers are shown Miss Emily's struggle from an outside point of view. Miss Emily is portrayed as a harsh recluse who commits a sickening crime. Readers can only speculate Miss Emily's thought...
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