Half Finished Essay-Symbolism

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Short story essay by Jean Cave
Essay Question: To what extent do you agree that short stories reveal character by means of setting and/or symbolism? Respond to this question with close reference to at least TWO short stories you have studied.

In this essay I am going to discuss the extent to which I agree that short stories reveal character by means of setting and/or symbolism, and to refer to at least two short stories that I have studied. My chosen short stories for this essay are: “The yellow wallpaper” By Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and secondly, “Contents of a dead man’s pocket” By Jack Finney. I am certain that this claim, is highly agreeable because authors use symbolism in short stories, in the setting to add meaning about something/someone, without the obvious effect, the author won’t disclose the meaning in their writing. In the two short stories I studied, symbolism is used by the author do reveal the internal conflicts of the characters. In the short story “The yellow wallpaper” By Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I think she creates the message of individual expression and does this successfully by recording the illness through the state of the wallpaper. The woman is married to a doctor, John, who uses his patronizing behaviour to treat her as an inferior, in the name of “helping her” because of his assumption to his own superiority, maturity and wisdom. The woman is reduced to think that she is the way that John see’s her, it destroys her identity, she is unable to stand up for herself without seeming disloyal to John, she has no say about the smallest details in her life. She retreats to the only place she can gain a sense of control and exercise the power of her imagination. Her descriptions of the wallpaper seem to be symbolic of the development of her illness and through the wall paper is a reflection of herself, her beliefs, thoughts and feelings all lead to the manifestation of the wallpaper in the story. She was becoming a deliberate creator of...
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