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Yellow Wallpaper

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The two stories “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” can both be analyzed from a psychological standpoint. Both stories illustrate how the human mind and imagination are able to cause conflict with ones self, others, and ultimately lead to ones own down downfall. Even though the stories contrast significantly in setting and psychological disorders the main characters have, their actions are similar in how they react when self conflict and imagination become more than they are able to handle.

“The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Gilman, tells a story about a woman with postpartum depression. Her husband John, who is also her doctor, is unable to diagnosis such a disease because of the time period. His “prescription” for getting better is rest and relaxation in a small house in the woods. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the woman’s journal she keeps, against her husband’s wishes, as she struggles with herself to get better. From the beginning, it is understood that the woman is highly expressive. She remembers terrifying herself with imaginary nighttime monsters as a child, and she enjoys the notion that the house they have taken is haunted. Yet as part of her “cure,” her husband forbids her to exercise her imagination in any way. Both her reason and her emotions rebel at this treatment, and she turns her imagination onto seemingly neutral objects in an attempt to ignore her growing frustration. Her negative feelings influence her description of her surroundings, making them seem eerie and sinister, and she becomes fixated on the wallpaper. Her bedroom in the house used to be a child’s nursery and is covered with yellow wallpaper. “The paint and paper look as if a boys’ school had used it. It is stripped off-the paper-in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach and in a great place on the other side of the room low down. I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing ever artistic sin” (Gilman 298).

As the story progresses the woman wants to go out, to enjoy life, experience new things while everyone around her is forcing her to stay inside, rest, and dwell in her misery. The material manifestation with the wallpaper grows; she becomes increasingly dissociated from her day-to-day life. She stays cooped in the room allowing her imagination and the depression to take control of her life. She exemplifies unstable behavior such as sleeping all day, staying awake all night, becoming paranoid of her surroundings and hallucinating women in the wallpaper until finally she loses her mind.

“The Tell-Tale Heart”, by Edgar Allan Poe, begins with вЂ?вЂ?True!вЂ"nervousвЂ"very, very nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?вЂ™Ð²Ð‚™(Poe 721). The narrator insists that his disease has sharpened, not dulled, his senses. He tells the tale of how an old man who lives in his house has never wronged him. For an unknown reason, the old man’s cloudy, pale blue eye has incited madness in the narrator. Whenever the old man looks at him, his blood turns cold. Thus, he is determined to kill him to get rid of this curse. The man describes how he became mad and killed an old man living in the same house. “I loved the old man. He had



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