Comparison: A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner & The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” are two short stories that incorporate multiple similarities and differences. Both stories’ main characters are females who are isolated from the world by male figures and are eventually driven to insanity. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the unidentified narrator moves to a secluded area with her husband and sister-in-law in hopes to overcome her illness. In “A Rose for Emily,” Emily’s father keeps Emily sheltered from the world and when he dies, she is left with nothing. Both stories have many similarities and differences pertaining to the setting, characterization, symbolism, and their isolation from the world by dominant male figures, which leads them to insanity.
Emily and the narrator both face issues pertaining to their identity in the short stories. Both take place in different settings although both women are essentially imprisoned in their houses. The two women are at very different places in life. In “A Rose for Emily,” she is young in the beginning and it ends with her being an old woman. “The Yellow Wallpaper,” focuses on the narrator when she is middle aged woman, it takes place over the course of just a few months. Both stories give different outlooks on the women as “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written in first person while “A Rose for Emily” is written in third person. Nonetheless, it is seen that the lives of both women are similar in certain ways yet different in other aspects.
The narrator and Emily both lived in houses with dominant male figures. The location of where they lived was different but they both faced seclusion in their own house. In “A Rose for Emily,” Emily’s house was described as “a big, squarish frame house ...

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...of Emily’s life was spent in isolation. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the narrator was isolated in her house as well. The house her husband chose to stay in was abandoned and hadn’t had tenants for years. The house was described as a previous insane asylum. While at the house, “John is away all day, and even some nights” (Gilman 2). The narrator spends almost all of her day alone while John is working and her sister-in-law gives her time alone. In her alone time, the narrator focuses on the wallpaper and it drives her to insanity as she sees and image and works to free the woman she sees. The isolation the narrator faces plays with her mind and makes her go crazy. The alone time was supposed to help with the narrator’s illness but in turn it only makes the situation worse.

Works Cited

A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner
The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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