“A Rose for Emily” by Faulkner

There is no clear indication who the narrator of the story is. Faulkner often uses the pronoun “we” to denote the narrator. For example, the narrator describes Homer Barron saying that “the one we believed would marry her”. Critics have various points of view concerning the narrator. Most likely, the readers should treat the narrator as a sort of collective voice of the town where Miss Emily lived. It is not clear whether the narrator is male or female, but his or her age should be quite similar to that of Miss Emily as there are many details that can be known only to people who were able to watch Miss Emily’s life for a long period of time. The narrator can be regarded as more reliable than Emily. It is obvious that Emily was mad; if she told the story of her life, the readers could not trust her words. Besides, choosing Emily as a narrator would deprive the story of suspense and unpredictability.

"The Yellow Wallpaper” by Perkins-Gilman 

The protagonist of this short story is a woman called Jane. Her husband and she rent a temporary house due to two reasons: their house is being renovated and John hopes that a new place can help his wife to restore peace of mind. However, Jane gets worse and begins to be irritated significantly by the wallpapers in their room. They are yellow with very complicated patterns. She sees a woman who lives inside the wallpapers. This woman symbolizes Jane herself as she also lives behind the metaphorical barriers put by her husband who does not see any reason for Jane’s condition. Jane says, “He does not believe I am sick”. The woman from the papers often creeps into the yard at night. She is more active at night as during the daytime Jane is almost always controlled by her husband and servants; only at night, she can express her desire to be free and do whatever she wants.

Unit 3 Response

The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” was diagnosed with hysteria as in the nineteenth century it was one of the most popular and widely used diagnoses given to women with different sorts of mental problems. The level of science did not allow differentiating these illnesses into narrow categories, so hysteria was considered a perfect diagnosis for many cases. Some feminist experts believe that it was also used just as a “way of keeping women in the home”.

It is very difficult to make a diagnosis based exclusively on the evidence taken from the short story. Nevertheless, I believe that most likely Jane, the protagonist, had postpartum depression that gradually, due to the lack of a proper treatment, developed into psychotic depression. However, the condition of Jane at the end of the story could be much more serious as “the number of medical diseases that can present with psychotic symptoms (i.e., delusions, hallucinations) is legion”.

Jane is likely to respond better to the modern ways of treating depression and psychosis. First of all, in her case, it would be highly advisable to have regular sessions of psychotherapy as one of her major complaints is that she feels lonely and has nobody to talk to as even her husband does not take her illness seriously. Then, especially when the psychotic symptoms began stronger and her hallucinations started occurring on a regular basis, she may take some antidepressants, for example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Besides, Jane was in a desperate need of a family support. Her husband made very many mistakes that resulted in her developing psychosis. He did not allow her going on long walks and deprived her of any physical activities. He dismissed her feelings and ignored her when she tried to explain him how she felt. Modern medical science believes that such behavior can negatively influence the condition of the patient.

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