A World of Loneliness in The Yellow Wallpaper and A Rose for Emily

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“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner shows great comparisons as well as contrasts to “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Both are short stories that revolve around the idea of the loneliness of women in their lives. The stories really bring out a gothic genre that defines why the women are scared and lonely. Both characters experience a sense of complete isolation from the world. Emily is isolated with the dead body for a multiple numbers of years and nobody finds out until after her death. Her father denies most of her mates and causes her to feel as she can let go.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” narrator is trapped in a bedroom with bars on the windows with little light in the room, causing her to feel completely disconnected from society. She is scared because of the figure lurking behind the yellow wallpaper. Both characters are being controlled by other things that dictate their decisions in good or bad ways. The characters experience their own story and horrors in different situations but have a lot of the same outcomes.

“A Rose for Emily” begins at Emily’s funeral. Everyone in the town attends her funeral even though everyone feels as it is a hassle to come. Emily’s family was very southern. This is where the southern gothic concept begins. Emily lived with her father and he would not allow her to marry. Emily is 30 when her father passes and she hesitates for a while to bury the body. She grieves for a long time as she becomes extremely depressed and sad over the loss of her father. After a while, she meets a man named Homer Barron with whom she becomes very friendly. She wants to marry him but Homer makes it very clear that he wants to stay a bachelor.

The town sees Emily buying arsenic so they soon believe that that decision caused her to suicide but Homer was the one that went missing. Emily acts as if she has no idea where he was and she acts dumbfounded. A few days after the funeral the town becomes curious so they decide to go search for her house. When they knock down her locked bedroom door they are very surprised because they find Homers decomposed body in the bed. Emily killed Homer and had been sleeping with his dead body every night.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a bit different, it was written by Charlotte Perkins in a diary setting. It was also a short story just like “A Rose For Emily”. The story is about a husband and a wife who live in a house in the country. The husband is a doctor while his wife is suffering from severe mental illness. The husband believes that the country and a lot of rest will help his wife tremendously. She was kept in a room upstairs with a bed and covered in yellow wallpaper.

The room was filled with windows but they were all barred up. She starts to analyze the wallpaper as she is going insane and says she starts to see a woman behind the wallpaper. On the last day of their stay at the mansion, the woman, who remains anonymous, refuses to leave because she says she “doesn’t want to go back behind the wallpaper”. The husband was so astonished that he faints and the crazy wife escapes away from him. It is an ongoing effort of the woman getting more insane to the point where she sees things and figuratively turns into them.

It is quite ironic that “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “A Rose for Emily” are in the same chapter of the book of Fiction. The two short stories flow together with their similar yet very different storyline. They both have the same theme that has to do with women’s health and wellbeing in the society of their respective times. Both of the main characters in the two stories are both women that suffer from psychological disorders. As you would imagine their struggles hold themselves back from dealing with or even having a normal, everyday life. These women are not only physically and mentally ill, but they are also extremely emotionally ill. In both stories, there is a male dominant figure.

The male sort of controls the way that these women live which is led to believe why these women suffer from bad illnesses. I couldn’t imagine being trapped in a room all day every day or missing someone so much that you lay with their dead body every night. It sounds like these stories are word for word the same but they also have their differences. They are both apart of the gothic drama. “A Rose for Emily” is more southern gothic, dark, suicidal, and psychotic, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, seems a bit more wild, loud, colorful and schizophrenic. It seems evident that these women both need extreme help but they are not getting the correct resources or development needed to get well.

Goth is a word that originates from a Germanic tribe that means gloomy, dark scenes. During this time period, the eighteenth century, the Gothic genre was a very popular way to portray literature. It has grown to be one of the best and most used genres in literature to this date. These two short stories are both Gothic horror stories consisting of madness and suspense.

There is truly not a lot to contrast except for the people and the story itself. Obviously, the characters, plot, and the setting is different but as you can tell they have a lot more in common than not. The stories were written more than one hundred years apart and by two completely different authors. The stories were written differently and had their own styles. The personalities of the two women were also different because the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” was more outgoing crazy as the woman in “A Rose for Emily” was crazy in her own silence. These two stories were both great to read and it sparks your mind to wonder if there are true stories sort of like these in the real world today.


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A World of Loneliness in The Yellow Wallpaper and A Rose for Emily. (2021, Feb 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/a-world-of-loneliness-in-the-yellow-wallpaper-and-a-rose-for-emily/



How Is A Rose for Emily and The Yellow Wallpaper similar?
Both A Rose for Emily and The Yellow Wallpaper explore the theme of confinement and isolation of women in patriarchal societies, and the psychological effects of such confinement on the female protagonists. Both stories also challenge traditional gender roles and societal expectations.
Is loneliness a theme in A Rose for Emily?
The theme of loneliness is present throughout the story as Emily is isolated from the townspeople and is left alone after the death of her father and later her lover.
WHAT DOES A Rose for Emily say about isolation?
"A Rose for Emily" is a story about a woman who is isolated from the world around her. The story shows how her isolation affects her and the people around her.
Why was Emily lonely in A Rose for Emily?
Her father isolated her from men, and then the whole Homer Barron thing permanently isolated her form everybody (except Tobe), which seems to be what her father intended . In this line the narrator gives us both the vicious clucking of the town, and their assessment of her father's control of Emily.
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