Comparison and Contrast of 'The Yellow Wallpaper" and "A Rose for Emily"

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Short story, Gothic fiction Pages: 6 (1975 words) Published: November 17, 2006

"A Rose for Emily", is a story written by William Faulkner, who wrote many stories which include Sartoris, The Sound and the Fury, and As I Lay Dying (DLB, 1991). In "A Rose for Emily", the reader sees a woman, Emily Grierson, who lives a life of loneliness, and how her attitude changes with this loneliness. Emily Grierson's loneliness can be attributed to three main factors: her father, her secluded lifestyle, and Homer Barron's rejection.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a story named "The Yellow Wallpaper". It is a story of a woman who becomes insane by wallpaper in the room. After becoming mother of a child, she was diagnosed hysteria. The woman filled in her mind the yellow wallpaper and began to act deranged. The title, The Yellow Wallpaper, is well suited for this story as it plays a pivotal role in symbolizing what the woman deals with day & night; the wallpaper becomes a symbol for the reasons of her insanity.

Comparison and Contrast of "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "A Rose for Emily"

William Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily," is about a woman who became insane by her father, who this condition kills her last suitor, Homer Baron. Emily was slowly driven into insanity by her father and other males throughout her life. Initially she was young and was a slender figure in white, contrasted with her father, who is described as a straddled silhouette. The Grierson house, was white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies, becomes a further representation of her diminished state, as she transitions toward insanity. In its best times, the house was big, squarish and located on Jefferson's most selected street. Viewing the house from this perspective gives the reader the impression that the house was not only very solid, but also larger than life, and gothic in nature. Emily, a resident of that house, was also perceived in the same manner. However, Emily failed to maintain this image of strength as male figures, such as her father and Homer Baron caused her great embarrassment. After her father's death, Emily was left without wealth, except for the house. After her father's death she began to deteriorate, and looked like a girl with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows - sort of tragic and serene, indicating her increasingly weakened image as a step towards insanity. The house also comes to reflect Emily's decay as it obtains a stubborn and coquettish appearance. The inside of the house, which comes to represent Emily's mental state, as well as her inner thoughts, also smelled of dust and disuse. (William Faulkner, 2003)

Much like Faulkner, Gillman uses the Gothic elements of the house in which the protagonist resides in order to mirror traits of her persona. Gillman used many Gothic elements in the story "The Yellow Wallpaper". The residence that the husband rents for the summer as well as the immediate surroundings is presented right from the beginning of the story. It is a secluded located place three miles from the village; this location represents an isolated environment. Because it was a colonial mansion, it obtains a gothic style as if it is haunted by ghosts. The haunted house contains a delicious garden, velvet meadows, old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and trees that come from broken green houses and overgrown roses suggest a dark green brown look. The garden has deep-shaded arbores, which are also gothic elements. The unclean yellow of the wallpaper is strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight; it is a repellent, almost revolting yellow, and a dull yet lurid orange. The rings on the walls, the barred windows, and the nailed down bed all further support this dark atmosphere that persists in throughout story. (Howells, 1920)

Additionally, these elements are used to represent and symbolize the character's mental condition as she is undergoing this ill-treatment by her husband. Jane becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper that is present in her...

References: The Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB). Vol. 102: American Short Story Writers 1910-1945. Ed. Bobby Ellen Kimbel. Gde Research. London. 1991, p. 78-81
William Faulkner, "A Rose for Emily." Discovering Literature: Stories, Poems, and Plays. 3rd ed. Eds. Hans P. Guth and Gabriele Rico. Upper Saddle River, N.J. Prentice Hall, 2003, p.165-172.
Birk, John F. ' 'Tryst Beyond Time: Faulkner 's Emily and Keats. ' ' In Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 28, No. 2, Spring 1997, pp. 203-13.
Hedges, Elaine R., An afterword to The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Feminist Press, 1973, pp. 37-63
Howells, William Dean, "A Reminiscent Introduction," in The Great Modern American Stories: An Anthology, Bom and Livenght, 1920, pp. vii-xiv.
Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar, "Infection in the Sentence: The Woman Writer and the Anxiety of Authorship," in The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, Yale University Press, 1979, pp. 45-92.
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