Essay on Appearance vs Reality in Yellow Wallpaper, Story of an Hour, and Lottery

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Appearance versus Reality in Yellow Wallpaper, Story of an Hour, and Lottery

Authors often write literature to have an emotional impact on the reader. These effects vary from work to work, and they may include happiness, sorrow, anger, or shock. Even authors who try to achieve the same effect may go about it in very different ways. This paper discusses three short stories written to shock the reader, but each uses a different method to achieve its effect. While Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" uses a sudden shift in plot at the end of a short narrative, Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" gives hints throughout the story preparing the reader for a shocking ending; in contrast, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" shocks its readers through careful character development.

The narrator of Gilman's 1892 short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a woman who seeks professional medical assistance to treat her mild depression and nervousness; ironically, the treatment is much worse than the illness itself. At the time Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper," the accepted treatment for depression was complete rest in an isolated environment. The narrator's husband, a doctor, forces her to undergo this treatment; consequently, he imprisons her in a small room with no one to talk to and nothing to do. When the narrator is trapped in this prison, her only enjoyment is secretly writing in her journal. Since ...

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...ing, but "The Story of an Hour" is more sudden. It is not shocking, however, that all three stories successfully impact the reader. Works Cited Jackson, Shirley. "The Lottery." Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. 308-14. Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. 158-9. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. 230-42
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