At first, John from “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Leroy Moffitt from “Shiloh” seem completely different from each other. John is a physician who only believes in what he can physically see, while Leroy is a man lost in his own life, looking for a purpose. John’s wife is very dependent on him, whereas Leroy’s wife Norma Jean has her own life. However, the two seem more alike than first appears. If we compare John and Leroy, we can see both stories demonstrate how husbands can drive their wives away by being too restrictive of them.
The first similarity between these two characteristics is that they have limited views of their wives. Throughout the story John constantly thinks of the narrator as a child. First he puts her in a child’s nursery (p. 298). He also calls her by children’s names; for example, he uses the terms “blessed little goose” (p.299) and “little girl” (p.303). Whenever she makes a suggestion, he dismisses it, as he does when she asks him to change the wallpaper (p.299). John also threatens her by saying he may take her to a nerve specialist if she does not get well faster, as if he were a father instilling fear in his child (p.301). At one point John carries her upstairs, lays her in bed, sits by her bedside, and reads to her until she grows tired (p.302). He even comforts her as one does a child when he finds her awake at night, saying to her, “’Don’t go walking about like that, you’ll get a cold’” (p.303). Consequently, John shows that he thinks his wife is not a responsible adult. Leroy likes to imagine Norma Jean as she used to be. When he lies on the couch while Norma Jean plays music, he sees how pretty she still is (p.579). He recalls the time Randy passed away in the back seat of their car during a drive-in movie. When they took him to the hospital, he remembers thinking, “Who is this strange girl?” (p.580). Leroy also remembers that before his accident whenever he came home, he and Norma Jean just stayed in the house, watching TV in...
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