Poe vs. Gilman

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William Grover
Professor Dozier
English 111,884
05 December 2010
Poe vs. Gilman

Both Poe and Gilman were successful in showing how the main characters of their short stories, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” create their own identities through their use of syntax and point of view. The authors’ characters use the first person view to narrate both stories, which support the unreliable narrator. If stories were to be another point of view, the reader would not have gotten an understanding as to exactly what Poe and Gilman were trying to portray. Since the writers had formed the narrators’ credibility, it adds obscurity and leaves room for questions in the audiences mind. In Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart”, the main character speaks directly to the audience. “You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me”. Poe also intensifies the writer’s emotional state of mind by the use of first person. “I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph”. “They were making a mockery of my horror! -this I thought, and this I think” Gilman’s character, on the other hand, writes as if writing in a journal. With each new entry, her thoughts grow seemingly more delusional, she begins to believe more and more in her imagined illness. At the start of the story, her thought are still rational but somewhat disoriented. “I take phosphates or phosphites- whichever it is- and tonics, and air and exercise, and journeys, and am absolutely forbidden to ‘work’ until I am well again”. The first person view brings us within reach of the writer’s delusions. “I have watched John, when he did not know I was looking, in come into the room suddenly on the most innocent excuses, and have caught him several times looking at the paper and Jennie too. I caught Jennie on it once”. The narrator’s use similar syntax to bring the audience into their thoughts; the choppy sentences not only guide the rhythm of their thoughts, but also...
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