Miss Emily, Mrs. Mallard, and the main character in the story The Yellow Wallpaper (her possible name is Jane) are three characters from three different stories written by different authors. In spite of the fact that these women may have nothing in common due to the different living conditions, attitudes to life, and obligations to be fulfilled, it is possible to find one thing that unites them. It is their attempts to find out themselves in marriage and understand what they want from their lives so closely connected with their men’s lives.
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Louise Mallard was an independent woman and understands her direct duties in marriage. In regards to her own dreams and demands, she has to consider the opinion of her husband. As soon as she finds out her husband died, she realize how shamelessly happy she is, being “body and soul free” (Chopin 279). Jane, from The Yellow Wallpaper, suffers from her dependency on her husband and the desire to understand her place in this world due to the fact that it is “a great effort… to think straight) (Gilman 314).
In her turn, Miss Emily seems to be an independent woman with her own intentions to make decisions, choose people, and consider the rules according to which she want to live. At the same time, she was “a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon the town” (Faulkner 298) because she does not have a husband. It proves that women may think that they can be alone, happy, and confident at the same time in case they are free from men. However, they can hardly guess how actually weak and unpredictably dependent on the circumstances they actually are.
The understanding of cultural aspects plays an important role. For example, The Yellow Wallpaper proves that even if society may think that professional physicians know the answers to all questions, they can hardly understand a true nature of woman, who actually wants to be free and remain to be dependent on her chosen man.
Analysis of A Rose for Emily
There are many authors, who make numerous attempts to analyze the relations between a man and a woman and identify a true place any woman should take in society. Female writers want to underline the importance of free will and independence, and male writers continue underlying the fact that women depend on men a lot. However, A Rose for Emily is one of those stories written by a man with a possibility to think and analyze freely using the context offered. William Faulkner does not make definite conclusions or attempts to convince the reader. His goal is to describe the events from a third narrative point of view and make people think about the reasons, conditions, and solutions made by different people during different periods of time. The aim of the current analysis is to explain the peculiar features between men and women and the role of marriage and gender relations in life using the example of Emily Grierson and the life she has with and without men.
Though it may seem that A Rose for Emily is a story about death and its inevitability, it is possible to find another aspect for consideration. For example, the reader may find the story of Emily’s life as an attempt to survive in a vacuum of personal thoughts and ideas being judged by the current traditions, obligations, and expectations. Though the author does not pay much attention to the role of marriage and the relations that can be developed between a man and a woman, A Rose for Emily may explain a lot about the worth of this concept in a human life. There are many women, who want to believe that the independence is a kind of treasure that should be cherished. However, maybe, because of the existing expectations or because of some personal prejudices, this desire make women and even some men weak and unable to think clearly.
In fact, this life is too complicated to a number of internal and external challenges. People of both genders waste their time and efforts to prove their own importance and miss the moment to realize that marriage is the priceless gift they can actually get. Emily has been under the protection of her father for a long period of time. As soon as she lost him, she lost her own sense of life. She tried to find out it with Homer Barron, but he was “not a marrying man” (Faulkner 304). The author does not explain directly the reasons for Homer’s death, but the presence of gray hair on his bed symbolize a true devotion of Emily to this man.
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Emily may want to demonstrate her desire to be isolated from the outside world and show that it is possible to live alone and be satisfied with the conditions. However, the facts like the presence of dust in the house, the unwillingness to bury Homer, as it is expected in a grave, or the desire to have one constant servant of her own prove that she was not independent and happy. It proves one simple truth that she, as the majority of women, want to be devoted to a particular man and connect her life with a life of the chosen person.
A Rose for Emily introduces the situation when person’s loneliness and the impossibility to underline true personal demands lead to unstable psychological conditions. Emily creates an illusion that helps her to survive. She does not ask for help, and she does not want to be supported. All she is in need of is a presence of a man in her life, even if the man is not alive. For some readers, it is hard to understand how wrong and unfair the citizens’ attitudes to Emily are. They have to help and support Emily in spite of the fact that she refuses her help. If society is able to put a number of rules and orders according to which people should organize their lives, it is hard to realize why the same society cannot identify the needs of its member and provide the portion of understanding required.
In general, the lesson offered by the author of A Rose for Emily is amazing indeed. The reader is able to compare the lives of different people being introduced to one character only. Emily’s loneliness, emotional instability, and desire to be happy are the reasons for why people do not want or cannot change their lives. The importance of gender relations lies in the necessity to support and offer help if it is needed. It is not always necessary to divide the roles, underline the competitiveness, and strive for independence. It is more important to find out satisfaction, peace, and comfort both, emotionally and physically.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 277-280. Print.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 298-306. Print.
Gilman, Charlotte, P. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth and Kelly J. Mays. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 307-320. Print.