Susan, the protagonist in “To Room Nineteen” feels trapped by her life and her family, and afflicted by her husband’s infidelity. Everyone assumes Susan and her husband are the perfect couple who have made all the right choices in life, but when Susan packs her youngest children off to school and discovers that her husband has been having an affair, she begins to question the life decisions she has made. Susan chooses to isolate herself from her own family by embarking on a journey of self-discovery in a hotel room that ultimately becomes a descend into madness. Unlike Susan, the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” initially wants contact and interaction with people, but is denied it by her husband. She tries telling her husband that she feels something is not right stating "You see, he does not believe I am sick!” but he tells her otherwise. He demands her rest by taking away any responsibilities she had before, including the care of their child and limits her to their bedroom. The woman descends into delusion as she struggles to escape the isolation imposed by her husband. Although Susan disregards her...
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...ions, whereas in “To Room Nineteen,” Susan, unable to cope with her ideas and state of mind, resorts to suicide. For so many similar details within both stories, the conclusions are completely different.
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Doris Lessing’s “To Room Nineteen,” the protagonists experience depression resulting in isolation from the world and people around them. In both stories, the protagonists become different people behind closed doors choosing to keep their disappoint hidden from their husbands. However, the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” gives in to insanity and becomes the character her imagination created while Susan in “To Room Nineteen” gives in to her addiction of isolation, letting it take her life. The individuals in these two stories show how easily depression is misunderstood and how easily it is to become isolated.
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