Compare And Contrast The Yellow Wallpaper And The Tell Tale Heart

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” are stylistically similar works with several parallels and differences. The two tales juxtaposed portray an overarching theme of mental illness in the 1800s, observing the way society sees and cares for mental disorders. Discussed in this essay are the narrators’ social roles and mistreatment, their motives to become destructive, and the distinctive ways in which they act in attempt to liberate themselves from their oppression and obsession, respectively. Without historical context, it is harder to understand why the narrators’ disorders devolve to induce such maniacal behavior. In the nineteenth century, the majority of “treatment” for mental disorders amounted to sticking victims in an insane asylum. Researchers still …show more content…

Living in a society lacking knowledge or proper medical procedures, it is reasonable that many people, including the narrators of the two stories, would deny their condition or try to avoid being placed in a harsh environment. Being highly misunderstood, however, mental illness was still treated as taboo. As such, those suffering disorders may not be taken seriously--especially if you were a woman. Elisabet Rakel Sigurdar outlines this issue, prominent in “The Yellow Wallpaper”: “The story depicts both the insanity of the narrator, as well as the helplessness that came with being a woman in the nineteenth century. The narrator's husband oppresses and infantilizes her, constantly belittling her needs and dismissing her concern that the treatment is only making her worse” (Sigurdar 18). Gilman

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