The Yellow Wallpaper and the Tell Tale Heart Analysis

1189 Words Mar 23rd, 2011 5 Pages
Hawkins 1
Professor Connors
English 102-15
March 12, 2011

Narrative Unreliability and Symbolisms in “The Tell -Tale Heart” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”

“The Tell -Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, was released in 1843. It is one of Poe’s shortest stories and provides a look into paranoia and mental deterioration. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was released in 1899. This story also provides a look into mental deterioration and had been misinterpreted when it was first published. The Poe and Gilman stories discussed in this essay will help readers comprehend the credibility of the narrators and the different symbolisms used to create informative yet suspenseful content. In “The Tell -Tale Heart,” Poe
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He laughs at me so about this wallpaper!” (Gilman, p327) The credibility of the narrators in both stories is very unreliable. In “The Tell Tale Heart”, the narrator is giving demonstrations of what he believes to be reasonable. “Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me.” (Poe, p37) It makes the reader wonder if the character of the narrator is beliveable because he is able to recall the events, or is he truly mad. The narrator is telling his story as if it were a one on one session, which can make it believable and then we begin to separate the madness from the “actual” events that occurred. While Gilman has written her story as the form of journal entries, this also alters the credibility of the

Hawkins 3 narrator because we only know what she wants us to know, resulting in leaving out important facts. “I did write for a while in spite of them; but is does exhaust me a good deal---having to be so sly abut it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” (Gilman, p326) She is not honest about writing with her husband, and this proves that she is more than willing to tell her story her way. The symbolisms greatly have an impact on the suspense in each story. Gilman uses wallpaper to symbolize some sort of text she must interpret and believes it affects her in some way directly. “There are things in the wallpaper that nobody knows about but
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