Essay on Escape in A Rose For Emily and Yellow Wallpaper

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Escape from Reality in A Rose For Emily And The Yellow Wallpaper


In the Victorian era, women were thought to be weaker than men, thus prone to frailty and "female problems." They were unable to think for themselves and only valuable as marriage material. The women in Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" and Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" are driven insane because they feel pigeonholed by the men in their lives. They retreat into their own respective worlds as an escape from reality, and finally rebel in the only ways they can find.

Emily and 'John's wife,' the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" who is never named, both feel stifled and suppressed by the men in authority over them. Emily, as a "slender figure in white in the background," is
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Both women love the men that control them, however, and would most likely insist that there was no abuse of any kind, emotional or physical. Though there may not have been abuse in the sense the word is used today, those men caused trauma in 'their' women, which is borne out by the violence of the insane actions of these ladies.

The two women retreat into their own universes as an escape, to figure some way out of the pain that their men have inflicted upon them. Emily retreats physically into her own home, "for almost six months she did not appear on the streets" and "the front door closed upon the last one and remained closed for good" (p. 507, 508). On the contrary, the narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" retreats into her own mind and the world of the yellow wallpaper, which gradually takes over her life until she can think of nothing else. Both women, however, create a fantasy life in which they truly live, Emily as Homer Barron's wife, Ms. Yellow Wallpaper as the woman who would "always lock the door when I creep by daylight" (p. 639). In these created worlds, they are free from the men who have ruined their lives.

However, merely being free to fantasize in their minds is not enough; they also demonstrate their 'freedom' in highly unpredictable ways as acts of rebellion, convincing the 'sane' world that they are truly mad. Emily's act of rebellion is simple but gruesome. She kills Homer Barron with arsenic and…