19th Century Short Stories

19th Century Short Stories

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19th Century Short Stories

'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman, and 'The
Nightingale and the Rose' by Thomas Hardy, are two stories from the 19th
century. Both of the authors aim to create sympathy for a character
undergoing hardship. Several of the methods used to create sympathy
are, a persons situation, or a particular problem a character
undergoes.

The first point that will be discussed is a difficult situation a
character undergoes. In the nightingale and the rose, the nightingale
has to sacrifice herself to help the student, and she is willing to do
this, this creates empathy for the nightingale in the reader. The oak
tree shows us that we should be sympathetic towards the nightingale by
saying that he "understood" but "felt sad", he also says he "will feel
lonely" when the nightingale is gone, due to this we see that the
nightingale's life matters. In the yellow wallpaper, we see the woman
slowly go insane, but she cannot see it. We feel apathy towards the
woman because she thinks she is fine, and it is her husband that is
making her think she is ill. We feel sympathy because she is so ill.
This is a very important and convincing way to make us feel sympathy,
because we can visualize the situations because they are so well
described.

The next point is the way the other characters act towards them. In
the nightingale and the rose the lizard says "why is he weeping", we
feel sympathy towards the nightingale due to this because it is
mocking her, despite the fact the lizard does not know it. We feel
sympathy due to this because this is a common experience. In The
yellow wallpaper, we feel sympathetic towards the woman, because John
patronizes her, by calling her "blessed little goose", and other
similar pet names, which make the woman feel like she is being stupid.
John also laughs at the woman, which makes her feel like she is
overreacting and that she is wrong to feel ill. This makes us feel

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Essay about 19th Century Short Stories

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more sympathy for the woman, without us considering the story from
John's viewpoint, this affects us all through the story because we
have been manipulated by the narrator.

The language the author uses affects how much me we feel sympathy
quite a lot. In the nightingale and the rose, the author uses pathetic
fallacy to help us feel sympathetic towards the nightingale. When the
nightingale dies she gives out a last burst of song, and "the moon
heard it and forgot the dawn", and the "red rose heard it and trembled
in ecstasy", we feel sympathetic, because the emotion is shown as very
intense, so important that the moon stopped. This affects us a great
amount. In the yellow wallpaper the author makes us feel more sympathy
due to the environment she has to live in, the author uses powerful
adjectives such as "repellent", "revolting", and "lurid", these words
make us feel how terrible the room is. We feel sorry because, we
realise how much we'd hate to live in that room.

Another important point is the narrative, the way the story is
written. In the yellow wallpaper the author has written it as a diary,
which makes us lose some cynicism, as we generally consider diaries to
be what the author really feels because we assume that diaries are not
supposed to be read by anyone other than the author. In the
nightingale and the rose we feel more sympathy because the story is
written as a fairytale with anthropomorphism, because people feel more
sympathetic towards animals than humans, as the nightingale does not
possess and selfish human traits. The effectiveness of the story comes
from it's bathos, an anti-climax, at the end, where the story goes
from interesting, attractive descriptions, to plain stark
descriptions. This is what makes the story so effective.


In conclusion, we can see that these stories use the same techniques
for creating sympathy in the reader, but they approach it in different
ways, and they are both used for different purposes. The yellow
wallpaper was designed to show the faults in a patriarchy, while the
nightingale and the rose shows how art and science conflict, and how
art is under appreciated. Each author subtly influences the readers
emotions towards all of the characters, but also to their cause, that
the stories were written for.
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