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Who Is Crazier? Compare/contrast Essay

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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. I

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


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 border

line 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. In

her 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




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