“We live in a time where there's an alienation factor. There's a certain disconnection. We don't have any real sense of community anymore.”(Ball “brainyquotes.com”). This is a quote from Allan Ball that explains how he believes that we live in a time with alienation and that alienation prevents us from living life to it’s fullest potential. As if alienation blinds and or even blocks us from the potential greatness the world has to offer. Alienation is proven to be a theme in both Emily, from A Rose for Emily, and the narrator, from “The Yellow Wallpaper.” They are alienated as a result of changes in their day-to-day living, the sensation of being trapped in a life they do not wish for, as well as living in a world that men control. This essay will show you how Emily and the narrator are both alienated in their respective stories as well as notice the similarities between the two women.
In the short story, “A Rose for Emily,” women’s lives were often dependent upon men. Therefore, when Emily’s father died she never married and she lived dependent on her family’s wealth because there was no father figure to arrange her marriage. This situation alienates Emily because she was never given the opportunity to be independent and take care of herself. After his passing, she was all by herself, having no one except Tobe who fetched her groceries. Her world was completely changed; the taxes her father used to pay she no longer was responsible for, the townspeople thought she considered committing suicide because she bought arsenic, they talked about her all the time since she was a lovely young lady who kept a really nice home once but recently the home appeared dilapidated and people come to her house complaining about a bad smell. Emily no longer knew how to maintain the house in proper order. She felt isolated and dealt with it by not caring anymore. Her life is like the spiral of a rose; spiralling downwards. One might even believe that Emily was depressed; she felt disconnected from society and as a result distanced herself from the world. Everything was changing which she could neither agree with nor handle. An example of this was when she couldn’t admit to anyone, no matter what the town thought, that her father was dead because she herself didn’t want to believe it. It took her three days to acknowledge his death and give him a proper burial. With her father dead and everything outside her house changing, she disconnected herself from the world. Emily didn’t go outside of her house unless she had to, she didn’t speak with many, nor did she invite people over. She lived in a bubble. Emily was depressed and therefore alienated herself to prevent further pain and change.
Comparatively, in the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” it is the narrator who is alienated based on change, not because of what’s changing around her, but simply because of the change she endeavours. She lives in a time where men are in control. Men being in control can often alienate many females in the reason that the men get to make all decisions and live their lives in freedom versus the females who are confined to their homes; cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children. They do not get to make decisions nor have a say in any matter. The narrator is the wife of a very controlling husband named John. She is seemingly battling a form of depression everyday and John, her husband as well as her doctor, belittles her illness everyday not wanting to encourage her. John demands that she do nothing; not write, work, or do anything active. Nonetheless, she keeps a secret journal from him in order for her to relieve her mind. This secret journal symbolizes the escape from reality she dreams of. The form of alienation John forces upon her is the fact that he doesn’t allow her the right to have freedom of speech and the right to take care of herself as well as express her feelings without being cut-off or