Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” are two of the best stories to compare and contrast. Both stories are written in nineteenth century when literature spreads its branches in everywhere. Most of the famous stories are written in that time period. Specially, Poe is famous for his tales of mystery and short stories. These two stories are similar in some points and also different in some other points, which is the main topic of the essay. Both stories give us a very important message that the human mind is very hard to understand and it is full of different layers of complication.
In the first story, the Narrator tells everything from a first person narrative point of view. We know that the first person narrative point of view is not reliable because the Narrator tells everything about his or her own. In this type of story, we cannot achieve a lot of information about other characters. “The Yellow Wallpaper” actually leads us to a point that women in nineteenth century lived in a dark society. The image of a woman, who literally lives in a jailhouse like an animal, is developed in the story. Her husband and other family members do understand her mental and physical situation and fail to help her to get rid of her problems. There is not only a woman who mistreated by her husband and other family members, but also millions of women who are the victims of this kind of situation.
Similarly, the second story has a first person narrator. Here the Narrator uses a different character for himself. His character is a mixture of anger and jealousy for his so called “friend”. The Narrator develops the idea in this story is that a person like him can commit a previously planned crime, like a murder to someone who is really a close one like a friend. To show the reason of this kind of barbaric act, he says “the thousand injuries” (Poe 14) make him to decide something like that. After reading the story more than once, our group “Cool Cactus” finds some clue for the Narrator’s ferocious act of a murderer.
In addition, a question rises in this point, why in this world would a person want to kill his “friend”? The story gives us hints to find the answer. The Narrator points “the British and Austrian millionaires” (Poe 14) and also says “In painting and gemmary Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack” (Poe 14). The Narrator mentions “the Montresors were a great and numerous family” (Poe 16). By telling these, the Narrator actually gives us hints that once upon a time, he had a rich family and somehow, maybe in British-Austrian War and he lost everything. But Fortunato did not lose anything and remains in his same status. That makes the Narrator jealous and angry.
To draw the main point, these are not enough evidence to prove the reason of the Narrator’s approach. To make a point, our group members did a deep research in this story. Finally we come to a conclusion that makes more sense that there is a woman behind the scenes. The Narrator loved her and wanted to marry her. But Fortunato takes his woman and marries her by using the power of wealth. That gives him a thousand injuries and insults. Only a woman can be the reason to make a man feel the ultimate jealous which awakes the beast inside him to commit a serious crime like a murder. Overall, both stories are full of mystery and do not give us all information to get the real picture. Both narrators are successful to get the sympathy from the readers. Poe introduces us a new idea about our so called relations like “friend” can be dangerous, if it is come to an end with jealousy for woman or money. Similarly, Gilman gives us an idea about our so called relations like “husband” and other family members like “brother, sister-in-law” can be harmful for a woman, if it is come to an end with carelessness and selfishness.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Literature: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Janet E. Gardner, Beverly Lawn, Jack Ridl, and Peter Schakel. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 76 – 89. Print.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “The Cask of Amontillado.” Literature: A Portable Anthology. Ed. Janet E. Gardner, Beverly Lawn, Jack Ridl, and Peter Schakel. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 14 – 19. Print.