I picked two short stories that I would like to compare and contrast in this essay. The first story is called "The Yellow Wall- Paper" and was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The second story I chose is called "A Rose for Emily" and was written by William Faulkner. Both of these stories are about women who have serious mental problems. These stories are similar in that aspect, but there are also some differences. In this essay, I will compare and contrast these two short stories and determine which one best illustrates insanity.
The first thing that I noticed about these stories was that they were purely fictional. Also noticed that they both had a weird twist. "A Rose for Emily" is about a woman who kills her lover and hides him in her home: The man himself lay in the bed. For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and fleshless grin. The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlast love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him.
In "The Yellow Wall-Paper" the woman starts out normal and gradually sinks into depression. Her depression gets so bad that she begins to see objects in her wall paper: We have been here two weeks, and I haven't felt like writing before, since that first day. I am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lack of strength. I don't feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I'm getting dreadfully fretful and querulous. I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time. Of course I don't when John is here, or anybody else, but when I am alone.
At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be. I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman. The weird twist in these stories not only captures your attention, but also makes the stories memorable. Although both stories are fictional, Charlotte Perkins Gilman did battle with depression in her own life on more than one occasion. Ms. Gilman was treated for depression with what is called the "rest cure." This basically meant that you lived as much of a domestic and stress free life as possible.
You were limited to two hours of intellectual stimulation per day. She was told by her doctors that she would never be allowed to write again. She listened to the doctors advice for three months, but during that time she became worse. She said, " I came so near the borderline of utter mental ruin that I could see over." She knew what would really help her and it was not what the doctor advised. Gilman obtained her normal life again and eventually got well. Inner story "The Yellow Wall-Paper" her character is also a writer and treated with the " rest cure." Gilman wrote the story as a celebration of her own recovery and in many ways the story reflected her own experiences.
The Author of "A Rose for Emily" had no personal experience with the sickness he wrote about. The author had not experienced what Emily went through, which made it hard for him to explain the story with the same amount of detail as Charlotte Gilman. This made it hard for him to be as personal in his writing: Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair. Another difference that I noticed between these stories was that they were written from different points of view.
"The Yellow Wall-Paper" was written in first person: I think that woman gets out in the day time! And I'll tell you why-privately-I've seen her! I can see her out of every one of my windows! "The main character was the one telling the story, which gives you a good idea of what the character was felling and thinking. "A Rose for Emily" was written in third person: When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of respectful affection for a fallen monument, the woman mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old manservant-a combined gardener and cook-had seen in at least ten years. Because " A Rose for Emily" was written in the third person it allowed no access to what the characters emotions or motivations were. I have decided that "The Yellow Wall-Paper" described insanity the best.
Gilman had not only experienced most of what she wrote about, but also wrote her story in the first person, which allows the reader to feel exactly what the character is going through. Since "A Rose for Emily" is written in the third person, you have no access to what Emily is going through. You only get to see her breakdown through others' eyes, which are not always accurate. It is still a great story, but it just does not give you as much detail..