Yellow Wall Paper, Beast in the Jungle, and My Contraband

Topics: Marriage, Woman, Wife Pages: 3 (1047 words) Published: November 22, 2005
Most of the literary works we have discussed in class are so distinctive from each other, yet so similar. In "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Beast in the Jungle" we see how symbols are used to portray and dramatize the theme of the story. We also learned how women were treated, or "expected" to act, in works such as "The Yellow Wallpaper", "The Beast in the Jungle", and "My Contraband", which then leads to the subject of miscegenation. We also see miscegenation used in most of Chesnutt's works and in "Desiree's baby" by Chopin.

The wallpaper in "The Yellow Wallpaper" was a symbol of imprisonment, restraint, and control. As described by the narrator, the wallpaper "became bars" imprisoning the "woman" in the wallpaper. The narrator herself (Jane?) was constrained by her husband, John, whom did not allow her to pursue a career as a writer and persuaded her to instead rest. The wallpaper symbolizes social restrictions women, especially the narrator, encountered at the time period the story was written. The wallpaper not only is representative of those restrictions the narrator faced, but also the restrictions the author, Gilman, faced herself as a woman also wanting to be a writer. The narrator "peeled off all the paper [she] could reach standing on the floor" , believing that this would free her and the women whose life was trapped by the wallpaper. The ripping of the wallpaper by the narrator symbolizes her freeing herself of those social limits imposed on her, making her feel as though she had also freed many other women whose life where also being controlled, just as Gilman did herself. While Jane's life was being controlled by her husband, John Marcher's life, from "The Beast in the Jungle", was being restrained by something not human. John Marcher's life was being troubled by "the thing" , something that was to occur to him, an event. I believe that John himself was the "beast", and the "jungle" was the condition in which he lived (without a definite...
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