Summary: In-depth Examination Of Stories Portraying a Society Dominated By Males

“A Rose for Emily” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”are stories that illustrate the troubles of women in a male dominated society in the 19th century. They both have female protagonists who experience forms of oppression from overbearing male influences such as their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Also, both are forced into isolation, because of their high social statuses. As a result of this constant isolation, they begin to sink into their own mental worlds caused by feeling trapped by the men in their lives.

The similarities and differences in the connections show the cultures and roles that both women share that helped taint their identities.

Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written right after the Romantic period, which influenced it in some way because of elements related to romanticism like individuality, intuition, inspirational, etc. Ms. Gilman once stated that, “… using the remnants of intelligence that remained and help by a wise friend, I cast noted specialist’s advice to the wind…” (page number 265).

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In which she, Charlotte Gilman, took advice from a physician and once she figured out that it wasn’t working, she started back living a normal life and feeling inspired she wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Oppose to Faulkner, who in “A Rose for Emily”, was greatly influenced by the events unfolding in the south at that time, which was the ending of the civil war concluding the end of reigns of slavery in the south. The Southern culture had drastically changed, and many individual’s way of life changed for the worst.

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With Faulkner’s background in the South he was able to shed a positive light on the south, which only a southerner would be able to do. Due to his knowledge of family heritage and old traditions dating back generations, really helped the literature speak for itself.

Southern Gothic literature mainly focused on delusional/ damaged characters and focusing on themes of grotesque. When picturing the backdrop of the story you come upon a decaying and somewhat crumbling, older mansion with a dulled and tarnished interior. But in comparison, “The Yellow Wallpaper” I wouldn’t say its Southern Gothic per say, but it has both gothic and feminist elements. For example, it portrays women as only being good housewives and nothing more, with an addition of repression so horrendous that the only thing women had to hope for was to be a good wife and mother. Another gothic element that stuck out to me would be the “the mad woman” being haunted by a spirit in the wall.

“The Yellow Wallpaper”, which is written in first person giving it a sort of intimate diary type feeling. While “A Rose for Emily” was written in third person letting us, the readers, get an insight of the views of the community. Another contrast between the stories are the solitude they both share; in “A Rose for Emily”, the isolation from the community or society is the norm, but then its enhanced by her father, which as I said before males dominated everything. Then in the case of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the isolation feels like a plague, a slowly eating disease that leads to death, which adds to her mental instability of the “baby blues”. The various similarities and scarce differences in the lives of both women at the hands of men became an eye-opener, shining on the expectations that men placed on women.

Consequently after reading both literatures and coming to an understanding about the lives the authors lived that immersed into their writings one can better understand the characterization, symbolism, and realism that both stories share. Describing the settings in those respective time eras in specific details which helps the realism shine through. Some examples from Charlotte Gilman’s story would include the women's financial dependence on her husband, no freedom to make decisions of their own and blatantly being treated like a child. In the same way Faulkner’s description of the southern town and its individuals changing behaviors and treatment of one another as time passed. Furthermore its the specific descriptions combined with symbolism, realism, characterization, and settings that brings the literature to life and immerges the reader.

Updated: Feb 28, 2024
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Summary: In-depth Examination Of Stories Portraying a Society Dominated By Males. (2024, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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