Comparative Analysis: Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Allende's "An Act of Vengeance"

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EN 377 A

11/25/13

Common Theme Between “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “An Act of Vengeance” Perhaps the most distinctive indication of a great short story is the ability of an author to develop an important internal theme in order to portray a specific message to the audience about the nature of reality. In the short stories, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “An Act of Vengeance” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Isabel Allende respectively, there exists a common internal theme of female powerlessness. While both “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “An Act of Vengeance” employ a common theme of female oppression, “The Yellow Wallpaper” uses it to analyze a protagonist who loses her mind as a result and “An Act of Vengeance” uses it to analyze a protagonist who loses her will to live as a result. In this paper, I will describe the unique way in which the theme of female oppression is embedded into Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”. I will then explain how Allende’s “An Act of Vengeance” also reveals the similar theme of female oppression. Finally, I will evaluate the difference between “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “An Act of Vengeance” despite the use authors’ utilization of the same internal theme. Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wallpaper” contains a female protagonist who is married to an oppressive husband named John. Because the protagonist has been diagnosed with an unnamed “condition”, she believes that John knows what is best for her and therefore abides by his rules and regulations; one of which entails spending most of her time locked in a room with horrid yellow wallpaper that she despises. “I don’t like our room a bit” she says, “I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window… but John would not hear of it” (Gilman 463). Even though she dislikes the room, John does not consider her opinion in the matter and thus reveals the protagonist’s powerlessness in the situation. Another obvious example of the extent of the

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