Monday, September 16, 2013
The Prescription to Madness vs. Curiosity Saves the Cat
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published in 1899. This story was based on her own personal experience with severe depression which she underwent a series of unusual treatment for. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a story about a woman who suffers and has been diagnosed by her husband with “temporary nervous depression” (Gilman, 1). The story of “Bluebeard” written by Charles Perrault is one of the classic fairy tales that children are told by their parents, but the part about the murder of his wives is removed and substituted with something more appropriate for kids. “Bluebeard” is a story about a wealthy man, a magical…show more content… His blue beard causes people to fear him as an unnatural color for a beard or most things in the natural world. Another significant symbol in this story is the ‘key’. The key in this tale has many symbolic meanings. Firstly, a key represents power and/or wealth. They are used to lock away something precious. In folktales, a key symbolizes a mystery yet to be solved “on the road to enlightenment and revelation” (Chevalier 1982). In this case, it represents a mystery to the bride which must be solved; Bluebeard gave his bride the key to give her admission and power in her new home. This privilege comes with a warning for he forbids her entry into one of the rooms showing his lack of trust in her. Basically, the key is a trap in this story because the use of the banned key comes with a death sentence but he did not tell her this— he only told her that she may expect his “just anger and resentment” (Perrault, 2). Another point worth nothing is that, the wife will use the key to open the forbidden room and therefore she will be given a disclosure about the true nature of her husband.
All these symbols are what made both stories enjoyable to read because they provided insights into the lives of some people even though Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was based on experience while Perrault’s “Bluebeard” was a folktale. The narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” was biased because, in my