Compare and Contrast “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot” by Robert Olen Butler
Extreme Anxiety The most interesting short stories that caught my undivided attention were: “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot” by Robert Olen Butler. These stories were both fascinating and intriguing in the sense that they made me feel like if I was the actual character. You could feel the pain and anguish the characters felt, even the desperation. It got to a point that I felt pity for the protagonist whom in both stories where narrating. Here we can see how someone can feel so desperate that they think the only way out is by taking their lives.
Both Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Robert Olen Butler created an incredible form of fiction that makes you question if the scenes in the stories can truly happen in reality. The Yellow Wallpaper and Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot have many similarities like they both are exquisite forms of fiction that only is true in our imaginations. Even though these stories are so alike, they maintain their styles of writing with unique and memorable details. Gilman’s style is a more frightful “The front pattern does move-and no wonder! The woman behind it shakes it! (Gilman 729). “And she is all the time trying to climb through the pattern- it strangles so, I think that is why it has so many heads. They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down and makes their eyes white! ” (Gilman 729). This passage makes my hair rise and to only imagine that the main character cannot leave, she has to stay there seeing the walls come to life night after night. In Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot Butler creates a world of wonder; the main character dies and comes back in form of a parrot.
We as humans only wonder what happens after death and Butler tells us what he thinks, reincarnation. This person’s particular reincarnation was torturous, being that he becomes a bird and goes home with his wife and the wife has many different lovers Butler writes “I watch the men go in and I hear the sounds but I can’t quite see. And they drive me crazy” (Butler768). If I was this bird, having all my memories intact, I too wouldn’t be able to stand the noise. Even though both stories have their own theme, they both convey a sense of sorrow that makes you want to jump into the story and help them but suddenly you too are helpless.
A similarity that both stories have is that in each story both husbands are clearly in love with their wife. In The Yellow Wallpaper the husband states: “He would go down to the cellar, if I wished, and have it whitewashed into the bargain. ”(Gilman731) In this passage you can see that he would do anything she wished, but all he wanted was for her to get better for him and their child. While the Husband Returns in Form of Parrot the husband, whom is the parrot, has a more subtle way to describe his love: “I can’t believe how beautiful she is. Those great brown eyes, almost as dark as the center of mine.
And her nose – I don’t remember her for her nose but its beauty is clear to me now. ”(Butler766) He describes her beauty in such a way that you can see how mesmerized he is of her, and how he wished he could be with her. These stories both convey an undying love that the husbands have for their wife, even one wife is hysterical and the other doesn’t even know he exist. Another similarity that these stories showed the reader is the need to be heard. The main characters both had the need to express their emotion and feelings. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” she wasn’t able to express her feelings and emotion due to her sickness.
She had a way to express them which was by writing, but not even that she was allowed to do. Her isolation secluded her from the world. Her only way was a piece of paper and a pen. In comparison with Butler story, we see how he tries to express his feelings through a single word. ““Hello,” I say again. Please listen to this tiny heart that beats fast at all times for you. ”(Butler770) This was him trying to deliberate his feelings with one single word, hello. This two characters’ need for manifestation of their feelings led them to anxiety and later, death.
The thing that most impacted me in both the stories was the ending of each, both protagonist chose to end their life. Charlotte Perkins Gilman created a whimsical ending that would scare most readers. I personally had to read the final page a few times in order to assimilate what happened. After you are done with the story you tie down some clues that the protagonist gave throughout the story leading up to her death. “There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down” (Gilman732). This is the first passage that she admits seeing the figures strangled.
When you continue reading you see this: “They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down and makes their eyes white. ”(Gilman 738) This reminds me off when watching a movie where someone is at the psychiatrist and they show them ink on blank paper, whatever the patient sees is what actually they are feeling. I think that she was planning on strangling herself from the beginning; she even had rope in her room at the end of the story. Robert Olen Butler makes his ending a sadder one; at least he got me in a melancholic mood after I read it. “I look at the sky the color of the brow of a blue-front Amazon.
A shadow of birds spanks across the lawn. And I spread my wings. I will fly now. Even though I know there is something between me and that place where I can be free of all these feelings, I will fly. I will throw myself there again and again. ”(Butler 770) He was so sad, without an ounce of hope that he rather died that continue feeling what he felt. While reading these short stories I felt an enormous surge of emotions, which I think should always be present when reading fiction. I tend to choose happier endings but in these stories I believe Gilman and Butler created perfect endings for their stories.
I felt the desperation the characters had, so I could understand their reasoning in taking their life. Don’t get me wrong I do not accept their choices as the right ones, but I do understand why they came to those conclusions. Work cited 1. Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Literature: The Human experience. Shorter 9th edition, Ab Carian, Richard and Marvin Clotz, eds. Boston Bedford,2007. page range729-740. Print. 2. Butler, Robert. “Jealous husband Returns in Form of a Parrot”. The Human experience. Shorter 9th edition, Ab Carian, Richard and Marvin Clotz, eds. Boston Bedford, 2007. page range 766-770. Print