Both “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Virgin Suicides” are told in first-person. The former, singular and the latter, plural. While the stories themselves are different in terms of plot and content, the narrative used is actually very similar, and the narrators share similar characteristics and patterns through their respective stories. Both of the narrators in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Virgin Suicides” suffer from a neurosis of sorts, adding effectiveness to which the reader understands the story. The two narrators experience severe obsessive tendencies, talk about events that cause them to go back to a more immature state of mind, and both are ambiguous about themselves. This gradual mental impairment changes the story’s interpretation by its readers and, in some cases, even certain aspects of the plot. The deterioration of the narrators’ mental states is most prominent through the obsessive behaviour they exhibit in their stories.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the story depicts a young woman prescribed the Rest Cure for her apparent hysteria. Whether or not she actually has this at the beginning is debatable. However, certain indications are made that she is falling into hysteria in the story. Most apparent is the development of her excessive fascination with the yellow wallpaper in the room in which she resides. She starts off simply noticing the ugly colour of it; she uses a relatively normal choice of words to describe it: “The colour is a repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight,” (Gilman, 649). This preoccupation with the wallpaper became the primary focus of her writings and her thoughts dur...
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... last,” said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane?’…” (Gilman, 656). This line could possibly mention her name, however, it could also be a misprint of her sister-in-law’s name, Jennie, but it could also be our final clue into who she was before her spiral into madness through her time in the rest cure.
Both stories discussed in this essay have very different content being discussed in them, but they are, in some ways, told very similarly. The interpretation of the story is affected by the way they are told: the fascinations created, the immaturity caused by what occurs in the stories and the obscurity of the characters. The story-telling is also affected by the mental fixations and illnesses felt by the narrators in The Yellow Wallpaper and The Virgin Suicides. The narrators become impaired in some way or another, only adding strength to how the reader interprets the story.
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