"The Yellow Wallpaper" and "A Rose for Emily"
In "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the relationship between an oppressive husband and his submissive wife pushes the protagonist from depression into insanity. "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner is the story about a young woman who is overwhelmingly influenced by her father, and she begins to deteriorate mentally after his death. Both stories have many similarities and differences. The two stories are about how society can influence the decay of one's mental state. Both of these stories use a great deal of symbolism and imagery and have an ironic ending.
The woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper," who is named Jane, speaks of her depression and how it is casually dismissed by her husband and brother who are both physicians. Her depression really begins to accelerate after the birth of her child, so her husband decides to place their baby in the care of another until Jane recovers. Her husband takes her to an old house in the country and puts her in a room with dingy old yellow wallpaper that has begun to fall off the walls. Jane asks her husband to replace or remove the wallpaper, but he refuses. The yellow wallpaper begins to take on a role of its own. Jane's husband, John, does not allow her to leave the house and have very few visitors. John is normally away at night, working in the city. Jane begins her obsession with the yellow wallpaper almost the instant that she is put in the room, but as the story progresses, her obsession leads to an aggressive mental deterioration. She begins to see "a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design." (page # ) She describes her illness as "not arranged on any laws of radiation, or alteration, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I ever heard of."
(page # ) Jane begins to see a woman's figure in the wa