Comparing The Tell-Tale Heart And The Yellow Wallpaper

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Finn B. Jor ENGL 110 11/17/09 As Madness Progresses The two books I have chosen to analyze are The Tell-Tale Heart written by Edgar Allen Poe and The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The themes I have chosen to look further into in both books are madness and insanity. In both The Tell-Tale Heart and The Yellow Wallpaper there is a narrator who struggles with madness. I am going to start arguing about how both narrators are incredibly fixated on the details of an object, which is the old man’s eye in Poe’s story, and the yellow wallpaper in Gilman’s. Then I am going to prove how the madness in the two narrators is revealed as the story progresses, and finally I am going to show how the madness overcomes the narrators…show more content…
Our narrator starts out being credible, and she tells us how she does not like the wallpaper at all. But as the story progresses, we can see how our narrator changes. An example of this is tells us how the pattern becomes clearer every day, “it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit.”(p.8). At this point she starts seeing various things in the wallpaper, but she still dislikes it, however later on we can see how her madness progresses and becomes a serious issue. She starts talking about how the wallpaper smells. “It creeps all over the house… it gets into my hair…”(p.11) I find it hard to believe that a wallpaper can smell like this, and I would rather say that this smell is a smell created by her mind rather than reality. And when she says that it even got into her hair, the reason for that would be how she saw some funny marks on the wall, low down. “A streak that runs round the room…as if it had been rubbed over and over.”(p.11). The mark is most likely from herself getting on her knees, and crawling around the room, and this might also be why she thinks she has the smell of the wallpaper in her hair. Close to the end of the story she is obsessed by the wallpaper,”…I have seen her! … it is the same woman, I know for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.”(p.12) The fact that…show more content…
Our narrator in The Tell-Tale Heart is confident when the police officers enter the house, simply because he said he had nothing to fear now that the eye had vanished from this earth. But something that he has not predicted happens. “It was a low, dull, quick sound – much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton.”(p.232). When he hears this he starts talking louder and starts freaking out. He believes that the police officers hear the beating heart underneath the floor, but they are pretending to know nothing about it. “I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! … Villains!, dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here! – it is the beating of his hideous heart!”(p.233) The fact that he thought he heard the old man’s heart beating under the planks might have been his guilt, or the fact that his madness took complete control over him. There is no possible way that a heart can still beat after the person is dead, and no way possible that the police officers could have heard

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