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The Depiction of Women in The Yellow Wallpaper and The Chrysanthemums

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The Depiction of Women in "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "The Chrysanthemums," by John Steinbeck

Identical twins have the same genes that make both of them look, think, and feel the same. Their likes and dislikes are the same; for instance, when one likes yellow, the other will like yellow. However, their fortunes are different; for instance, when one dies, the other will not die. Similarly, in literature, different authors have created a twin character in different eras. It is as if a second twin sister was born forty years after the first one was born. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman ( 1892) and "The Chrysanthemums," written by John Steinbeck (1938), both stories are similar in characterization and setting. They differ, however, in their points of view and the symbolism. Each actual symbol is different, but its meaning is the same. Although they differ in many different ways, both show that being trapped inside an isolated house and having a limited life under a husband's control leads to a miserable ending of a woman's life.

While Gilman uses a lonely, big house where her main character stays for three months, Steinbeck creates a small farmhouse where Elisa lives and works. This definitely addresses their loneliness and isolation. Elisa works in her flower garden in which she plants chrysanthemums bigger than anyone does in the Salinas Valley. She works alone in her small garden that is surrounded with a "wire fence" to protect from "cattle and dogs and chickens" (Steinbeck 503). She lives in a small farmhouse that is far away from other houses, which makes her feel as if she is isolated from her society. Steinbeck sets the Salinas Valley as if it is also isola...


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...eir messages of the stories are the same. So now, just think about why they have many similar thoughts toward women.

Works Cited

Charter, Ann, and Samuel Charters, eds. Literature and its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2003.

Steinbeck, John. "The Chrysanthemums." Literature and its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 3 rd ed.Ed. Ann Charter and SamuelCharter. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2003. 502 - 510.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Literature and its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 3 rd ed. Ed. Ann Charter and Samuel Charter. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2003. 182- 193.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Gubar, Susan. "A Feminist Reading of Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." Charters and Charters 564- 566.



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