Analysis Of ' Benito Cereno ' And The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Cultural stereotypes are not often the main focus in literature, however the undertones of these stereotypes shape stories and help us better understand underlying meaning. Identifying stereotypes is not always clear unless one is familiar with the culture that the stereotype encompasses, however when they are identified it gives the reader an advanced understanding of the text. Two literary works, Benito Cereno by Herman Melville and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman use stereotypes as a literary technique to deepen the plot, but are used in each story in a particularly different way. Literature is a good mechanism to help explore cultural stereotypes and exploit the positive and negative consequences associated with them. In Benito Cereno, Melville encaptures a typical American sailor who is blindly trusting of others which leads him to be ignorant to situations around him. Similarly, in The Yellow Wallpaper Perkins Gilman uses the character of the ignorant husband to show the harm his carelessness causes his wife, however unintentional. Melville enforces an American stereotype of being ignorant throughout the story to keep readers in the dark with what is actually happening in the story, in comparison to Gilman’s style of displaying an American stereotype of not taking mental illness seriously at the beginning of the story; which could be easily missed. Also, Melville and Gilman use characters in power to convey deeper understanding to the characters.