An Analysis Of ‘ A Rose For Emily ‘ And ‘ The Yellow Wallpaper ‘

The stories “A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Gilman both touch on the topic of insanity. In both stories, the insanity is caused by an obsession over a certain thing, or person. This suggests to the reader that fixating on a certain thing in life, even if it seems good at the time, often ends up being detrimental to our health.

There are a few things that bring about the downfall of Emily and the woman from “The Yellow Wallpaper” who is possibly Jane, which is what I will be calling her in this paper. Jane faces many situations in the story that seem to be normal, but become incredibly oppressive to her. Jane is seeking freedom from her husband, John, throughout the story. This is why, in the end, she tears all the wallpaper, freeing the woman stuck in it, which is symbolic of her freeing herself from her husband. The reader here has to question, though, if she was actually freed from anything. “I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!” (Gilman 320) Jane is saying that during the day John has no control over her, but at night she follows his order, putting her back “behind the paper.”

Emily, unlike Jane, is not married, so a husband can’t control her, but she has her own issues also. Emily’s father controlled her life and when he died she insisted that he had not. “She told them that her father was not dead.” (Faulkner 302) This is when the reader can begin to see that something is not right with Emily. She clings to her father’s body, controlling him the only way she could after he controlled her for her entire life. Emily’s young years were ruined by her father driving off all the young men who would call on her, making her feel unable to fit in s…

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…and refuses to have a mailbox. While these things are not completely out of the ordinary for a normal person, when they are attributed to Emily they are somewhat strange. She is totally unwilling to even think about an idea that she doesn’t like. Consequently, she goes insane about it. This is simply one of many examples of insanity as a result of obsession in little, ordinary objects.

In conclusion, anything we become deeply involved with has the potential to do us harm. Jane, from “The Yellow Wallpaper”, has a mental breakdown from obsessing over the room, and the wallpaper of the room, that she is captive in. Additionally, Emily in “A Rose for Emily” goes insane from refusing authority, and from her inability to let go. We can all take a note from these stories, which is that just because something seems good, it may be killing us without us even realizing it.

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