Roles of Doubling in the Yellow Wall-paper and Revelation

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The short stories The Yellow Wall-Paper and Revelation were both very interesting reads because the authors utilised doubles when writing their stories and you can not really see how they use them until the end. When you realise that they are there, it makes the ending much more dramatic. The doubles help both women in the stories figure out something about themselves that they needed to realise. But, their ways of doing so were slightly different. There are some similarities between the doubles in both short stories but there is also a significant difference as well.

The double of the narrator in The Yellow Wall-Paper was the lady who was trapped behind the wall. The narrator first became acquainted with her double when her husband John moved the family into an old abandoned house. He had brought the narrator here and left her in a room because she was facing mental illness. He did not want people to see her in that state and he also wanted to seclude her because that was how she would get better. While in this room she started to become obsessed with the pattern of the wallpaper.

Something about it drove her crazy. You can see the narrator slowly fall into to madness because she cannot figure out what intrigues her so much about the wallpaper and she becomes even more invested when she first meets the lay in the wallpaper. One day she finally figures out that she is the women in the wallpaper. She realised she felt trapped in the house, in her marriage and in the stereotypes that were placed on women. The woman in the wall was just her way of telling herself she was trapped. To fix this she allows herself to go completely insane, so she can be free. Similarly, in the story Revelation, Ruby Turpin’s double, Mary Grace, led her to a self realisation. Mary Grace was the opposite of Ruby in different ways.

For example, Mary Grace holds a lot of anger inside of her, but she lets the world know that. Ruby holds a lot inside of her but never lets her feelings out because that would not be considered proper. For example, she holds in her criticism about others and herself. All Ruby wants to be viewed as is high class, so she acts like she thinks she is supposed to. In a way, Mary Grace also has attributes that Ruby wishes to have. Mary Grace is high class because of her wealth and she can dress nicely because of the wealth also. Those a couple things Ruby wants, especially the title. When Mary Grace attacked her in the waiting room and said, “Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog” (O’Connor 1965, pp 207), it changed everything for Ruby. She went home and really thought about who she was, and she had no idea. So, Ruby’s double really had a large impact on her self image. Her ending was quite different than the narrator’s ending. A noticeable difference in the two stories would be the doubles themselves. The narrator’s double was a projection of herself.

The woman in the wall was not a real person, it was just the narrator’s self conscious trying to communicate with her. So really, the narrator helped herself out of her situation because the double was not real, it just guided her. Ruby’s double was a real person, but I do not think she was herself at the time. At the end of Revelation when Ruby had her own revelation about herself, a light shined in her eyes which allowed her to come to terms with herself and realise she needed to restart her way of thinking (O’Connor 1965). Similarly, Mary Grace had a light shine in her eyes before she became crazily angry at Ruby. The two lights, to me, have a connection. Mary Grace is a religious name, so it could have been god using Mary Grace as a tool to communicate with Ruby. She certainly communicated that information in a less than formal way by attacking Ruby and yelling, but she got the message across. As you can see, the two doubles are significantly different people.

So, what helped Ruby was her faith in God and his will. To conclude, the doubles of the narrator and of Ruby Turpin played big parts on these women’s lives, undoubtedly changing them forever. They were used as tools to get the main character to realise something about themselves that they suppressed or did not want to find out. They are very important parts to these stories because without them, where would these women be? Ruby would still be walking around judging everyone she saw as lesser than her. The narrator still trapped in a house with her depression smothering her everyday and keeping secrets from John. Even though the overall experience was not the same for both women, the doubles were still vital parts of their lives.

Read more