Girl Interrupted vs. The Yellow Wallpaper

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The main character in Susanna Kaysen’s, “Girl, Interrupted” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper” are similar in the fact that they both were suppressed by male dominants. Be it therapist or physicians who either aided in their mental deformities or created them. They are similar in the sense that they are both restricted to confinement and must endure life under the watchful eye of overseers. However similar their situations may be, their responses are different. In the stories, there were both positive and negative aspects and characteristics that the two protagonists possessed. Both women were thought insane and although they may not have been originally, being locked up made other characters question their sanity. In, “Girl, Interrupted,” Kaysen’s character was a passive yet promiscuous eighteen year old woman. Ten minutes into her visit with an analyst, Kaysen is being told she’s tired and that she needs a rest. The therapist makes a couple of phone calls, puts Kaysen in a cab and sends her off to the psychiatric ward at McLean Hospital. In the cab, she doesn’t put up a fight or try and escape and once she arrives at the hospital, she signs herself in because she is of age. Even before then, while she was still in the therapists’ office she showed no sign of struggling against the force that was her doctor. Instead she willingly accepted the fact that she was tired and to go then rather than on Friday to the hospital. This passiveness is a dominant characteristic of Kaysen throughout the rest of the story. But I view the trait as both a positive and a negative one. It seems like it would be a positive because Kaysen allowed herself to enjoy her time in the hospital. She made an effort to make the best of the situation. However, it’s also a negative trait to possess for the simple fact that had she fought or argued with the doctor or the cab driver, she would never had to go near McLean. During her taxi ride to the hospital she said, “I let my head fall back against the seat and shut my eyes. I was glad to be riding in a taxi instead of having to wait for the train.” This passive act, not only wins Kaysen a spot at McLean but doesn’t help change her therapist opinions on her. While reading, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” I realized that Gilman also is a passive person. But I feel Gi... ... middle of paper ... ... appearances which is why I think she does what her husband and brother prescribe. She even says, “If a physicican of high-standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?” This brings me to the point that women in those times had to follow their husbands orders. Anything else was unheard of! By the end of both stories, the women had changed. Kaysen for the better and Gilman, I feel changed for the worse. In “Girl, Interrupted,” Kaysen meets friends, learn about life, love, and herself and gets out of McLean. She meets a very wealthy bachelor and they date. I feel she had the more positive ending of the two stories. Gilman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” on the other hand, should be sent to a real phsychiatric hospital. She did not have such a positive outcome. Basically, Gilman had her freedom and sanity stripped from her by her husband. Living in solitary confinement, I would have gone insane two. But in those times, she had no choice but to do what her husband requested. However sad, that was life at the time.

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