The first edition of the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” was first released in 1843. This was the start of a new time epoch, which took effect in appliance to creative writing world wide. The short story triggered a big debate in the US at that time and caused a great stir.
Approximately 50 years later, another astonishing short story was published in one of the US’s biggest newspapers. This was written by Charlotte Perkins Gillman 1899. Those two short stories appeared to be quite similar in several ways. Both fall under the genre of horror and include a main character suffering from psychological disorders. The authors are using different techniques as repetition, and symbolism to create suspenseful and informative content in the stories. These techniques are waking the curiosity up inside you, which makes the readers just want continue read the story to its very end. But what are really the similarity and differences in these two stories? How do they effect the impression of the readers? Well, let’s find out!
In The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Gilman is delivering her story through a mentally ill woman, in similarity to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tail Heart”. They are both using this technique to create insecurity to the readers which is a good twist in a short story. This type of twist makes the readers perplexed since they can’t really trust the narrator completely.
One difference between those two stories is that in “The Tell-Tail Heart” it is clear from the beginning that the protagonist has some mental problems, while it is a almost impossible to tell that the protagonist, the main character, suffer from mental diseases in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. This has a greatly effect on both of the story since Perkins Gillman’s story is harder to interpret in the beginning, which of course makes the whole story very interesting. Especially to experience the protagonists turn from being an ordinary woman who appear to be normal, to be a total freak, as you can se in the end of the story when she is crawling on the floor. The fact that we already from the beginning knows that the man in “The tell ale heart” suffer from mental disease tells us that something cruel is to be expected. One other interesting thing in Poe’s story is that he uses an excellent way of telling the story through a madman’s perspective. It is almost as if the man is having a conversation with the reader, and as he is telling the story right then directly to the reader. That makes the readers feel involved in the story.
In the very first sentence, the madman is actually asking a question to the readers; “…but why WILL you say that I am mad?”. Charlotte, on the other hand, has written the story as in a diary, which means that we just get to know what the protagonist wants us to know. She can therefore easily leave out important facts and happenings that happens somewhere between her diary entries. As a result of the diary structure of the story, “The yellow wallpaper “ encloses more detailed descriptions than “The Tell-Tail Hart” does, which is more focusing on the mans obsession.
Charlotte Perkins Gillman is using a lot of metaphorical language and symbolism in her short story. For example, she is using the yellow wallpaper to describe and symbolizes her own situation and the woman behinds it as herself. The wallpaper is almost like a mirror that is reflecting her own life. She is also using small metaphorical descriptions as for example when she is describing the yellow painted walls in the room she is living in. The yellow color on the wallpaper is describing minority, infancy and oppression. This metaphorical language creates suspense and gives us more information of her angle of approach of her mental condition. The fact that both authors chose to write their stories in first person perspective greatly impacted in the suspense of the story. It makes the stories more exhilarating and unexpected. The theme of those two stories is also separating from each other. The theme in “The tell ale heart” can be seen as “your fear of being caught can actually lead to the direct opposite”, while the theme in “The Yellow Wallpaper" discusses that the theme of the treatment of a mentally ill patients and the vision of a woman at that time, should be changed. Also that the treatment they used destroys patients instead of getting them better.
Charlotte Perkins Gillman uses irony to create a concealed moral. The insane woman in the story writes in her journal (which also is the story) “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.”. That is a perfect stereotype sentence of irony in the story. The woman uses irony to say something with a hidden message. The hidden message in this case is that a husband that laughs at his wife is not to except in a good relationship. Also her husband is not a pleasant and caring husband, even if she is telling the exact opposite in the written text. Edgar Allan Poe, on the other hand, are using repetitions to emphasize all those creepy occurrence that the protagonist committing, for example when he is talking about his nervousness as in the subsequent quote. “TRUE! Nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous…”.
Poe is also using repetitions to create more tension to the story and also to show that the protagonist is definitely out of his mind since all those small repetitions are showing the readers how pretentious and accurate this man seams to be, which I already in the beginning started to suspect that something wrong with this man. Poe is also using sound patterning a several time to emphasize and to illustrate the things he is doing. An example of this is when he hears the unbearable noise in his head, “It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND -- MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN ENVELOPED IN COTTON”. The man really describes the sound carefully and emphasize it with writing the most important part of the sentence in capitals.
On more differences between those to stories are the time perspective. “The Yellow Wallpaper” occurs during a few months while “The Tell-Tail Heart” occurs under just a several days.
Edgar Allan Poe is even using a small piece of hyperbole in his story, for example when he found the old mans “vulture eye”, as a reason to take the old man’s life.
Charlotte Perkins Gillman is also using the main character, the insane woman, as a symbol for innocent and actually also as a symbol for herself. It is legible that Gillman is trying to bring out this woman as a victim for her husbands treatment, - she is just doing as he tells her, which I definitely not blame her for.
Both Charlotte Perkins Gillman and Edgar Allan Poe are accordingly using mentally ill main character, Metaphorical language, symbolism to create an anxiously and suspenseful atmosphere from the very beginning to the very end of their controversial piece of art. Even though, the stories are very individual and different from each other in many ways, as I mentioned earlier in this essay.
This are just two made up stories, (even if some people consider “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a story of Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s own life and experiences) written a long time ago, but events like this could still actually take place since there has and always going to be mentally ill persons that are capable to do almost everything for actually no reason. Even if the treatment of a mentally ill persons has changed a lot since 1899 (the time when “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written) wrong treatment of patients still exists due to ignorance. So the relevance that this kind of happening actually could take place is terrifying big.
I don't know much about ur article but i am also in a fix that whether the sentence " I waited for the train when I saw some flashing lights." is correct or not. If it is incorrect, tell me the reason. Thanks