The Yellow Wall Paper And Barn Burning Essay

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In many different time periods throughout America’s history, there has been an overwhelming “norm” in society that depicts the male as the most dominate member of the household. Although this is not necessarily seen in today’s society, it is not rare to find this theme present in a large number of works studied in American Literature. Two authors that illustrate this pervasive theme in their short stories are Charlotte Perkins Gilman and William Faulkner. Despite the fact that these short stories were written almost fifty years apart, the protagonists in both Gilman’s “ The Yellow Wall-paper” and Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” live in a society where they are severely conflicted because of their confinement to a patriarchal family dynamic.
Although there is such a large gap in the time periods of the two short stories, with “The Yellow Wall-paper” being written in 1892 and “Barn Burning” being written in 1939, there are prevalent similarities on how these time periods affect society and both protagonists. In looking at the common theme for both time periods and their societies, the reader sees the clear role of the head, or male in the household. Both Gilman and Faulkner show how the subordinate family members are forced into submission. They must obey that primary male figure and his every demand. In “The Yellow Wall-paper,” the unnamed narrator, diagnosed with “hysteria,” is forced, by her husband John, into confinement. John traps her in a small room where she is allowed to

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