Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” are strong writings that grasp symbolism as their main point of explanation and interpretation. Gilman’s short story expresses a young woman that is in peaceful captivity by her husband and uses her surroundings to create an imaginary world. Hawthorne’s story uses the birthmark of a woman, a scientist’s wife, which drives the scientist to extreme measures of dealing with the mark. While both writings use symbolism as their main point of expression for the reader to interpret, each writer’s means to carry the plot has many differences and similarities. The interpretation of the symbols that reveal the conflict, character’s persona, and even resolution are the similarities and differences in the writings.
In Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark” the symbols used to show the conflict varies. As the reader reads the title of each short story, the conflict can be easily found in title, so the reader thinks. Of course this is true for one story and that is Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”. From the beginning to the ending of the short story the constant conflict is with the scientist’s wife Georgiana and her unforgettable mark. “Aylmer sat gazing at his wife, with a trouble in his countenance that grew stronger, until he spoke. “Georgiana,” said he, “has it never occurred to you that the mark upon your check might be removed?” This being the initial introduction of the conflict of “The Birth-Mark” reveals the main concern of the husband of a very small imperfection (315). An imperfection that Georgina did not see as a problem until her husband did “then bursting into tears. “Then why did you take me from my mother’s side? You cannot love what shocks you!” (315). As the birthmark being the beginning of the conflict it reveals many more, but always circulating back to the source. However in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” the conflict is not so easily grasp by the title. The...
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