Books and Movies Reviews

Comparing Writing Styles of Faulkner and Gilman

I. Writing instructors often tell people to "write what they know." When Faulkner wrote "A Rose for Miss Emily," he was familiar with the Deep South and its attitudes toward women. When Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wall-Paper," she was familiar with society's beliefs at the time about whether women should have intellectual pursuits. Although the two stories are told differently, each author has produced a story about a woman who was emotionally unstable, and each story has been colored by the beliefs at the time regarding women.
II. Faulkner grew up in the Deep South, and presumably, heard many tales about the Civil War. In his story, he drew on those experiences to create a quietly chilling picture a woman's declining years. He hides the history of her life in the history of the town and of the house in which Miss Emily lived. For instance, he shows how time has passed her by describing the gas station on the corner of her street where a cotton gin had once stood. Because the story has a narrator, we can only infer what Miss Emily's life was like, and her descent into madness is only revealed after her death.
III. "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written infirst person, giving the reader a clear look into the mind of a woman as she descends into insanity. The protagonist of Gilman's story, who is never called by name, is kept in a large attic room because her husband, a doctor, believes it will help cure her. Although she loves to write, she has to write furtively and secretly because her husband believes that such intellectually taxing activities will only make her worse. It becomes clear to the reader that it is the incessant boredom that is aggravating the woman's condition. Thefirst person narrative approach creates an interesting presentation because we see the story only through the woman's eyes, and it becomes apparent that her understanding of …


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