Victims of Stereotypes

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Who is the best looking? Who is the richest? Who is the most popular? People are always quick to judge others, but sometimes people take their judgments to far and form stereotypes on certain individuals. All Muslims are terrorists. All Women are to stay in kitchen. All homosexuals are evil. Falling victim to one of these common stereotypes can have a devastating effect on one’s lifestyle. Scared to go back out in public, stereotyped people live a life full of depression and isolation. The main characters in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “Paul’s Case” are two individuals who fall victim to common 20th century stereotypes and succumb to a life of isolation and depression.

Stereotypes can alter the way people live. In both novels the main characters were the subject of a stereotype and became depressed. The main character of “The Yellow Wallpaper” battled through a frequent stereotype that women should only stay in the house. She has no say in the even the littlest details of her life and is unable to stand up for herself without seeming disloyal. The main character is getting over an illness and thinks she is free to do what she wants. Contrary to her belief, her husband, a physician, disagrees and commends her to stay inside the house. The main character says, “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good, But what is one to do?” (Gilman 437). The main character knows she is stereotyped as a woman and acknowledges there is nothing she can do. Much like the main character of “The Yellow Wallpaper” the main character in “Paul’s Case” became depressed after he was stereotyped as a homosexual. Paul’s homosexual leanings make his life difficult causing him to have with no close friends and no...

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...ereotype and dealing with the consequences of it. As the result of the stereotypes, depression and isolation were reoccurring themes throughout both novels, leaving the main characters to contemplate how to set themselves free. Although they chose different ultimatums, each main character came up with a final plan to break free from their stereotyped lifestyle. If only the main characters in each novel were able to preach the message, never judge a book by its cover, may their lives and stories have been different.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Lierature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 11th ed. Longman, 2010. 436-47.

Cather, Willa. “Paul’s Case.” Lierature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 11th ed. Longman, 2010. 491-505.
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