Comparison between Novels: The Yellow Wallpaper and the Bluebeard

Topics: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Fairy tale, The Yellow Wallpaper Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: January 15, 2014
Monday, September 16, 2013
The Prescription to Madness vs. Curiosity Saves the Cat
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published in 1899. This story was based on her own personal experience with severe depression which she underwent a series of unusual treatment for. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a story about a woman who suffers and has been diagnosed by her husband with “temporary nervous depression” (Gilman, 1). The story of “Bluebeard” written by Charles Perrault is one of the classic fairy tales that children are told by their parents, but the part about the murder of his wives is removed and substituted with something more appropriate for kids. “Bluebeard” is a story about a wealthy man, a magical key and his wife who reluctantly agrees to marry him even though he has a blue beard that made him “frightfully ugly” (Perrault,1). In my opinion, these two stories have nothing in common expect the fact that although they both have the same exceptional symbols like colors, rooms, house, key and sisters, these symbols mean and represent different things in the stories. The ‘yellow wallpaper’ in this story symbolizes sickness and an ill state of mind. It is driven by the narrator’s sense that the wallpaper is a passage she must interpret and it also symbolizes that it is something that affects her directly. The wallpaper develops its symbolism throughout the story. At first it seems merely unpleasant: it is ripped, soiled, and an “unclean yellow” (Gilman, 2). The worst part is the presumably shapeless pattern, which captivates the narrator as she attempts to figure out how it is organized. After looking at the paper for hours, she sees a strange sub-pattern behind the main pattern “like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern” (Gilman, 5) visible only in certain light. The woman represents a desperate woman, constantly crawling and stooping, looking for an escape from behind the main pattern which has come...

Cited: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper, published 1899 by Small & Maynard, Boston, MA.
Chevalier, Jean and Alain Gheerbrant. A Dictionary of Symbols, Second Edition. Translated by John Buchanan-Brown. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.
Lang, Andrew. "Bluebeard." The Blue Fairy Book. University of Virginia Library 's Electronic Text Center, [1991].
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