Instable Families in House of Usher, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Dead  

Instable Families in House of Usher, The Yellow Wallpaper, and The Dead  

Length: 1417 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

    There is, of course, no such thing as the perfect family, although many families attempt to present the perfect family image. If we had insights into the families who claim to be perfect or ones who claim "satisfaction," surely we would begin to see the fissures and "tokens of instability" in their foundations (Poe 720). Three stories from the last half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century -- Poe's "The fall of the House of Usher," Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," and Joyce's "The Dead"-- provide us with three types of troubled families, all three of whom seemed to provide "satisfaction," yet which have fissures and instabilities.

Roderick Usher's ancient mansion in Edgar Allen Poe's famous story, seen from a distance, seems to have a structurally sound foundation, but it does not. "While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened -- there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind -- the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight -- my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder -- there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters -- and the deep and dark tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the 'House of Usher' (Poe 732). Typically, the average American family goes through financial difficulties, marital problems, or long term illnesses -- all disturbances in the family. In some cases, these crises can destroy the family. Usually, however, a family will not fall apart. When families are faced with a continuous cycle of crises that are kept hidden, then, because of the accumulation of problems, eventually, we see "the mighty walls rushing asunder (Poe 732).

In "The Fall of the House of Usher," Roderick Usher's house is an emblem ...


... middle of paper ...


...ntly there were fissures in the marriage the entire time; we must take a closer look at families to see the fissures. In Poe's and Gilman's stories, the revelation of families' emotional wretchedness is revealed gradually.

Works Cited

Encyclopedia Britannica Online. "Manic-depressiveness psychosis." 27 Sept. 1999. http:// www.eb.com:180/bol/topic?exref=7787.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper". R.V.Cassill, ed. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. New York, London, 1995: 403-417

Joyce, James. "The Dead". R.V.Cassill, ed. The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. New York, London, 1995: 476-510

Mitchell, Susan. The Official Guide to American Attitudes. New Strategist Publication, Inc. Ithaca, New York, 1996: 245

Poe, Edgar Allen. "The Fall of the House of Usher". R.V.Cassill, ed. The Norton Fiction. New York, London, 1995: 717-732.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator becomes more depressed throughout the story because of the recommendation of isolation that was made to her. In this short story the narrator is detained in a lonesome, drab room in an attempt to free herself of a nervous disorder. The narrator’s husband, a physician, adheres to this belief and forces his wife into a treatment of solitude. Rather than heal the narrator of her psychological disorder, the treatment only contributes to its effects, driving her into a severe depression....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper]

Powerful Essays
832 words (2.4 pages)

Importance of Setting and Wallpaper in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Importance of Setting and Wallpaper in The Yellow Wallpaper             The Room itself represents the author’s unconscious protective cell that has encased her mind, represented by the woman, for a very long time. This cell is slowly deteriorating and losing control of her thoughts. I believe that this room is set up as a self-defense mechanism when the author herself is put into the asylum. She sets this false wall up to protect her from actually becoming insane and the longer she is in there the more the wall paper begins to deteriorate....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
1463 words (4.2 pages)

Free Yellow Wallpaper Essays - Schizophrenia in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Schizophrenia in The Yellow Wallpaper                 Throughout history people have always seemed to follow what notions that were considered "cool". Though I doubt that "cool" was the word used to describe these notions they were still there in some form or another. One of the greatest farces ever committed in the name of these popular perceptions was medicine. At that time, medicine that was on the cutting edge seem to have always involved some sort of noxious chemical or a typically atrocious diet....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Free Essays
1225 words (3.5 pages)

The Fight for Sanity in The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Fight for Sanity in The Yellow Wallpaper         Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper is partly autobiographical and it illustrates the fight for selfhood by a women in an oppressed and oppressive environment.  In the story, the narrator is not allowed to write or think, basically becoming more dysfunctional as she is entrapped in a former nursery room where bars adorn the windows and the bed is nailed to the floor.  In this story there is an obstinacy on behalf of the narrator as she tries to go around her husband's and physician's restrictions, however, there is no resisting the oppressive nature of her environment and she finally surrenders to madness even though it repr...   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
1752 words (5 pages)

The Oppression of Women and The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Oppression of Women and The Yellow Wallpaper        The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a fictionalized autobiographical account that illustrates the emotional and intellectual deterioration of the female narrator who is also a wife and mother. The woman, who seemingly is suffering from post-partum depression, searches for some sort of peace in her male dominated world. She is given a “rest cure” from her husband/neurologist doctor that requires strict bed rest and an imposed reprieve form any mental stimulation....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
1520 words (4.3 pages)

Symbolism and Repression in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Symbolism and Repression in The Yellow Wallpaper        Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is as a wonderful example of the gothic horror genre. It was not until the rediscovery of the story in the early 1970’s that “The Yellow Wallpaper” was recognized as a feminist indictment of a male dominated society. The story contains many typical gothic trappings, but beneath the conventional façade hides a tale of repression and freedom told in intricate symbolism as seen through the eyes of a mad narrator....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
2045 words (5.8 pages)

Male Dominance in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Male Dominance in The Yellow Wallpaper           The story of The Yellow Wallpaper reflects the period where men dominated women.  The real meaning of this story is written hidden behind it.  The author had used a writing style that is taking objects portraying men, women, and society.           The story first starts off a couple have moved to a house. A so- called haunted house, her wife describes it.  The wife, who is a patient of her husband, has moved here to cure her sickness.  She does not admit that she has a problem.  Everyday she keeps looking at the tore yellow wallpaper....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Free Essays
589 words (1.7 pages)

Women and Fiction in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Women and Fiction in The Yellow Wallpaper      Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a deceptively simple story.  It is easy to follow the thirteen pages of narrative and conclude the protagonist as insane.  This is a fair judgement, after all no healthy minded individual becomes so caught up with "hideous" and "infuriating" wallpaper to lose sleep over it, much less lock herself in a room to tear the wallpaper down.  To be able to imagine such things as "broken necks" and "bulbous eyes" in the wallpaper is understandable, irrational and erratic designs can form rational patterns in our minds, but to see a woman locked inside of the "bars" of the wallpaper and attempt to re...   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
1322 words (3.8 pages)

The Nightmare of The Yellow Wallpaper

- "The Yellow Wallpaper" was one of the first works to chronicle the process of going insane. Its harrowing quality derives from the fact that the author knows whereof she speaks. But even though it is based on Gilman's own breakdown, the story is crafted as a work of art, because the nightmarish motif of the yellow wallpaper itself serves as a metaphor for the disintegration of the protagonist's mind. The narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" has no name. Generally, when the protagonist of a first-person story remains unnamed throughout the work, we take this to mean that the character represents all humankind....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Powerful Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

Caught in the Yellow Wallpaper

- Caught in the Yellow Wallpaper        "The pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you."   As her madness progresses the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper becomes increasingly aware of a woman present in the pattern of the wallpaper. She sees this woman struggling against the paper's "bars". Later in her madness she imagines there to be many women lost in its "torturing" pattern, trying in vain to climb through it....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Powerful Essays
1053 words (3 pages)