Mental illness Vs Reality

Midterm Essay, English 2001 

Oct 20, 2020

The spirit of perverseness  is described as a driving force that allows characters in a story to do things that they knew would be bad for themselves and others around them. I believe this theme is prevalent in  both “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman  and the “The Black Cat” By Edgar  Allen Poe. Both gives first hand narration about characters  who seem to have a mental slip induced by things that happen in their lives or things they brought upon themselves. However, the stories are not the same by means of content or conflict and by the end of each the reader is faced with  the fact that, one narrator knew his actions were wrong by law and the other was so wrapped up in her own mind/depression that she almost couldn’t help herself.   

In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte P Gillman is a sad story told from the point of view of a wife. She lets us know that both her and her husband a doctor names John believed she had a form of depression. Which he viewed as no big deal.  As the plot unfolded the narrator who is the main character becomes so fixated on the wallpaper in her bedroom, that she wanted it removed. She brought these concerns to her husband who stayed in his resolve. “It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate, and provoke study, and when you follow the lame, uncertain curves for a little distance they  suddenly commit suicide…”.  She became obsessed with the wall paper so much so that it seemed to invade all her daily spaces, and thought. In my opinion the spirit of perverseness  rare its head when the narrator had finally had enough. When she could no longer contain her hate for the wallpaper and maintain the illusion of getting better for her husband. Her hysteria came to ahead when she gave life to the wallpaper as she pulled and tugged in a fit of desperation and until every peace was down. To her husbands dismay.


  1. Renee A

    I have been figuring out how to edit this story an take out a lot of my need to summarize, I was just wondering if I am on the right track and capturing the essences of what the task is?

  2. Professor Sean Scanlan


    Thanks for you draft and your question above. Be careful to avoid too much summary. My student example is a good model: two sentences of summary maximum. The main project is to compare the characters/scenes using our gothic terms. Develop the idea of SOP more concretely, more specifically. Your essay makes it seems like SOP is not connected to The Black Cat…make sure to correct this. After defining the term accurately and with quotes, then state which scenes you want to compare. The scenes will help the direction of the essay. Keep going.
    Prof. Scanlan

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