The Yellow Wallpaper and the Tell Tale Heart Analysis

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Hawkins 1
Professor Connors
English 102-15
March 12, 2011

Narrative Unreliability and Symbolisms in “The Tell -Tale Heart” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”

“The Tell -Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, was released in 1843. It is one of Poe’s shortest stories and provides a look into paranoia and mental deterioration. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was released in 1899. This story also provides a look into mental deterioration and had been misinterpreted when it was first published. The Poe and Gilman stories discussed in this essay will help readers comprehend the credibility of the narrators and the different symbolisms used to create informative yet suspenseful content. In “The Tell -Tale Heart,” Poe
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“And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern.”(Gilman, p330) “And she is all the time trying to climb through.” (Gilman, p331) The way the patterns and complexities of the wallpaper is described leads one to believe she is avoiding acknowledging her own realities and foreshadowing the course she will take. Gilman’s story symbolizes women in marriages during the 1800‘s and the ineffective way mental illnesses were treated. “Of course, if you were in any danger, I could and would, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know.”(Gilman, p331) “So I take phosphates or phosphites--whichever it is---and tonics, and air and exercise, and journeys, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again.” “Personally, I disagree with their ideas.” (Gilman, p326) The narrator discusses the way her husband (her doctor) is

Hawkins 4 treating her illness in her journal but is really unable to voice her true feelings to him about what she thinks she should be doing. The symbolisms in Poe’s story is the “old man’s eye’ and the “beating heart”. The narrator in “The Tell Tale Heart” is trying to separate the old man from his “evil eye.” This could symbolize a type of love and hate relationship the narrator is battling. “I loved the old man. He never wronged me.” (Poe, p37) “One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture--a pale blue eye, with a film over it.