Analysis of A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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In the short stories “A Rose for Emily” written by William Faulkner and “The Yellow Wallpaper”” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the protagonists experience mental illness, loneliness, feelings of being in control of their lives, and feelings of being insane. Both main characters struggle against male domination and control. The two stories take place in the late 1800’s - early 1900’s, a time where men’s place in society was superior to that of women. Each story was written from a different perspective and life experiences. “A Rose for Emily” was written by a man and told in third personal narration, while “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written by a female and told in first person.

In “A Rose for Emily” Miss Emily Grierson faces the struggle of living a life in the shadow of her father. The earliest is instance is alluded on page 120, where she is a figure in the background with father “in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip.” While this story is set in the time of horse and buggy, his domineering image and the whip bring to mind a girl who was under constant threat of a beating. Her father also isolated her by chasing off any suitors as not being good enough for her (Faulkner, 123). Her father had a fallout with family over her great aunt’s estate so she is left her isolated from her any of her kin (Faulkner, 125). When her father dies it is his death seems to be the stress that pushes her over the edge. For three days she denied to those that came to offer their condolences that he was dead before she finally broke down (Faulkner, 124). For whatever the reason she falls in love for a foreman named Homer Barron who comes to town to pave the sidewalks. They are seen together and she buys him ...

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... destroying others to preserve ourselves as Miss Emily did. We also must not isolate ourselves by becoming drawn into behavior that is self destructive. It does not matter if its an effort to find the ultimate truth or become the perfect society. Once we start believing that wrong is right or up is down, we will find that we are isolating ourselves to our own delusions and on the path to destruction as the protagonist in “The Yellow Wallpaper” did.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. Collected Stories of William Faulkner. Random House. New York. 1950, p.119-130.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper. The Forerunner Charlotte Perkins Gilman‘s Magazine. Charlton Co., New York, Volume 1, No. 1 November 1909.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. The New England Magazine Volume 0011 Issue 5, January 1892, p. 647-657

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