A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories

The Ignominy of Insanity 12th Grade

Mental illnesses have always carried a stigma with their name and their history as people who suffer from these disorders have always struggled to face the misconception and the shame that came from being involuntarily affected by such disorders. In each story, the authors, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and William Faulkner, use the theme of insanity to bring attention to problems within their eras regarding the topic of mental disorders and isolation. Gilman’s story, The Yellow Wallpaper, deals with how a woman’s mental state gradually declines as she is forced to remain in isolation to cure what was thought of as a “nervous condition” back then. Faulkner tells the story of Emily Grierson in A Rose For Emily and how she, longing for companionship and love, is driven to insanity as isolation take a toll on her. Gilman uses the theme of insanity in order to shed light on mental illness treatments for women at the time, also using the main character as a symbol for oppression faced by women before the 20th century. Faulkner uses insanity in a way that demonstrates the devastating mental effects caused by extreme isolation, focusing on Emily’s alienation and what it led to.

Charlotte Gilman had been diagnosed with a “nervous condition”...

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