Analysis Of ' The Yellow Wallpaper ' By Willa Cather

Analysis Of ' The Yellow Wallpaper ' By Willa Cather

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There are two stories this semester that have been particularly interesting. ‘Paul’s Case’ by Willa Cather is a turbulent story about Paul, a young man who eventually spirals downwards into his eventual suicide. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a story about a woman forced into the resting cure by means of her husband until being alone with her thoughts drives her to insanity. At face value, these stories have vastly different plots and outcomes. How are you able to compare stories with different plots? When the ideas behind the stories are similar, it becomes possible. These two stories have many parallels which will be discussed in detail throughout this essay.
The first element that is a parallel between the stories is that both ‘Paul’s Case’ and ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ are works of psychological realism. Psychological realism can be defined as “character-driven and place special emphasis on the interior life of the protagonist or other point-of-view characters” (Chegg). In ‘Paul’s Case’, while it is not written in first person and while that seems to disprove the classification of psychological realism, it does not. There are many passages that go into the inner workings of Paul’s mind, especially when he is enjoying pieces of the finer arts. In one section fairly early in the story, Cather writes “but the first sigh of the instruments seemed to free some hilarious and potent spirit from within him; something like the genie in the bottle found by the Arab fisherman. He felt a sudden zest for life; the lights danced before his eyes and the concert hall blazed into unimaginable splendor… gave himself up to the particular stimulus such personages always had for him.” (Cather 3). Throughout the book time and...

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...he stories as completely different. Through the genre the stories are written in, how both of the main characters are mentally unstable and trapped, and how both of the main characters’ rooms had yellow wallpaper; many parallels can be drawn. These parallels make the two stories more similar than one would think at face value. But why does this matter? It matters because it shows that mental illness can happen to anyone. In these stories it happens to a new mother and to a middle class teenager. In both of these stories, if their peers would have reached out and communicated openly to the main characters or if their peers had actually listened to them, one could say that the endings would be vastly different from the final published work. Both of these stories, in the end, bring up a dialogue that is still relevant even now in the 21st century after careful analysis.

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