Comparing William Faulkner 's A Rose For Emily And Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's `` The Yellow Wallpaper ``

Comparing William Faulkner 's A Rose For Emily And Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's `` The Yellow Wallpaper ``

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Compare and Contrast Essay
The women in William Faulkner 's "A Rose for Emily" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's "The Yellow Wallpaper" are impelled to insanity because they are confined by the dominating male figures in their lives.  The men in both stories use gender and social status as means of controlling these women.  Isolation is also utilized by both men as a method of control which plays a major role in the mental instability of these women.  The stories both take place in an era when women were seen as weak fragile individuals who were not able to think for themselves.   Both women withdraw into their own individual worlds as a strategy of escaping the reality of the world they actually live in.  In addition, these women rebel as a method of obtaining some sense of control over their lives.  Although both women are detached from the world around them the consequence of this forced isolation manifest differently in each woman.
Faulkner and Gilman both use the external settings of the story to represent the mental state of both women.  In “A Rose for Emily” the description of the house not only demonstrates how Emily is disconnected from society but it also is a reflection of her inability and lack of interest to conform to the changing world around her, “only Miss Emily 's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores.” (76)  Similarly in Gilman 's “The Yellow Wallpaper” the woman 's strong dislike and connection to the wallpaper in the room she is confined to represents her mental state at the time “dull enough to confuse...pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study” (76).  The unnamed woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” eventu...


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... trapped in the wallpaper not realizing that it in fact it is a symbolic representation of her own situation.  She finally connects with the women trapped in the wallpaper realizing that they too need to be freed from forced confinement, just as she too was in need of rescuing.  Sadly in order for this woman to be free, she had to lose her mind in the process.
In essence these two women were victims of their circumstances. They both were greatly affected by the controlling dominating male figures in their lives.  Although the manifestation of their oppression were different, they both found a method of regaining some form of control over their lives.  They both withdrew, rebelled and form a new worlds for themselves in which only they had control over their lives.  Unfortunately, that was the sad realities of many women in the era in which these stories were written.

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