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Compare And Contrast As I Lay Dying And The Yellow Wallpaper

Good Essays
At the turn of the twentieth century, Charlotte Perkins Gillman and William Faulkner authored The Yellow Wallpaper and As I Lay Dying, respectively. Gillman’s book published in 1892 speaks to mental illness and the malpractice of doctors due to inadequate knowledge, as well as, treatments for mental health. As I Lay Dying, published in 1930, is Faulkner’s whimsical tale of a misfortunate family’s journey to bury their mother in her hometown. Both authors create a developed female character which presents a culturally more harsh standard of living for women of that time. Readers can infer that Gillman’s protagonist and Dewey Dell, one of Faulkner’s minor characters, lived under similar cultural standards; however, readers can also see that these…show more content…
As Gillman begins The Yellow Wallpaper readers are given pretense that the protagonist is sick, but her husband and brother, both physicians, believe she isn’t sick; to make her feel better thought they prescribe phosphates and no “work”. Hence the protagonist is not to physically exert herself by being the woman of the household nor is she to mentally strain herself by partaking in writing. However, as readers, we know that the protagonist doesn’t adhere to either of the stipulations set forth by her husband or brother. The predominant dictation she violates is indirectly applied as she mentally applies herself to write the journal that the reader absorbs, moreover the protagonist also physically exercises. “John is kept out of town by serious case, and Jennie is good and lets me alone when I want her to. So I walk a little in the garden or down that lovely lane, sit on the porch under the roses, and lie down up here a good deal” (Baym and Levine 490) Gilman’s protagonist listens to the patriarchal figures in her life, but essentially does what she thinks is best for herself. In opposition to Gilman 's writing, Faulkner’s character, Dewey Dell, is a slave to the men in her life; specifically two men in particular Lafe and MacGowan. Dewey Dell is bound to Lafe because of the pregnancy now they have to scurry around quietly to about, but…show more content…
A deeper look into the authors provides a clarity into why their heroines acted differently. As a feminist, it only makes sense that Gilman’s protagonist embodied her belief of a strong and independent woman. Meanwhile, as part of the authoritative patriarchy, Faulkner’s heroine could be nothing less than an objectified character in need of a man in her life helping sort her issues, as Faulkner writes, “He could do so much for me if he just would. He could do everything for me” (19). Therefore a woman’s role in society is, although culturally set, is ambiguous and meant to be defined by the individual and his or her own