Isolation in “a Rose for Emily” and “the Yellow Wallpaper”

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“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman are two well written short stories that entail both similarities and differences. Both short stories were written in the late 1800’s early 1900’s and depict the era when women were viewed less important than men. The protagonist in each story is a woman, who is confined in solitary due to the men in their lives. The narrator in “A Rose for Emily” is the mutual voice of the townspeople of Jefferson, while Emily Grierson is the main character in the story that undergoes a sequence of bad events. The unnamed, female narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is also the main character whose journal we read. This difference in tense gives each story a …show more content…
The narrator is left in the “colonial mansion” for the summer, not seeing anyone except her husband, John, John’s sister, Jennie, who takes care of the narrator and the house, and some family members who came to visit for a short while.
By the end of each story we realize that both Emily and the unnamed narrator are clearly insane. After Emily’s death and funeral, the nosey townspeople enter her home and break down a locked away room that had not been entered in forty years (Faulkner 80). In the room they found the decaying body of Homer Barron, the man that she wished to marry (81). “The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him” (Faulkner 81). A “long strand of iron-gray hair” was on the pillow next to him, indicating that Emily is the result of this tragedy (Faulkner 81). Although the townspeople had always thought of Emily as crazy, this finally proved them right. Throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper” it is noted that the unnamed narrator is ill. After being secluded in the upstairs room, “the yellow wallpaper comes to occupy the narrator’s entire reality” affirming her loss of sanity and isolation from the world (Treichler 62). “There are things in that wallpaper that nobody knows about but me. […] And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about that pattern”