The Effect of Surroundings in 'Paul's Case' and 'The Yellow Wallpaper'

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Jessica Flores Flores 1 Mitchell Eng 1123 English Composition II 6 October 2011 The Effect of Surroundings in “Paul’s Case” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” In Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” readers are introduced to two different characters who have similar outlooks on the living situations that they have each been forced into. Paul and the narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” feel trapped by their surroundings, but the way they attempt to solve their problems is different. The authors vividly describe the feelings of the protagonists toward their respective environments, and the use of tone, style and symbolism allows the reader to connect with the protagonists.…show more content…
When Paul finds out that he was being tracked down, he uses what is left of the stolen money to escape into the countryside where he finds an overpass and ends up jumping in front of a train to end his life. The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is told she needs to rest constantly to overcome her sickness, so she is forced to stay in the old nursery where there is yellow-orange wallpaper with a busy, obnoxious pattern that she hates. She tries to study the wallpaper to distinguish the pattern, and as time goes on she believes she sees a woman moving around in the background of the pattern. Also, during this period of time the character’s condition is worsening, because her husband is causing her mind to weaken by not allowing her to exert herself at all; he says she is not to think about her condition, walk through the garden or visit family. All she can do is sleep and trace the wallpaper, and being cooped up in the room causes her to begin hallucinating. The narrator sees the woman trying to escape from the wallpaper throughout the night, and she ultimately completely breaks down and believes that she is the woman. In both stories, the authors use symbolism to show the reader the impact that the characters’ surroundings had on them. Paul reacted by running away and trying to make his dream world a reality. In the end, he decided that he would rather end his life than to return to the mundane lifestyle he left behind. The narrator of
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