American Literature Essay

According to William Faulkner, human beings are rational. They are creatures capable of going beyond their situations so that they can break the mould of their comfort zone. They explore all possibilities to better their lives. This is because people are social beings capable of compassion, sacrifice and perseverance. It is therefore through literature that human beings should be reminded of their potential. Writers and poets should remind people that they are social beings and need to engage in activities that prove that they are different from savages. This assertion by William Faulkner is supported strongly by short story writers like Charlotte Perkins Gilman in her story The Yellow Wallpaper and Shirley Jackson in her story The Lottery.

According to Gilman, the undependable narrator withdraws into madness. Her husband is the main antagonist. The husband is strongly convinced that the narrator should be treated immediately after their child is born. Through the protagonist, Charlotte attempts to admonish the social evils done to women in society. At the same time, the writer tries to justify the need for people to discover ways that can help them get out of their frustrating situations. The woman is locked in a room upstairs. She believes that this place was once used as a nursery. To get over her frustrations, she engages in writing journal entries on the experiences within the room.


In her piece of writing, the narrator moves about the floor and walls of the room after going on a holiday with her husband. Romantically, the room is depicted as an aristocratic property. She as well imagines that this room is haunted after being left by its former occupants. She wonders why they had decided to come in such a house after being left for so long. Since the woman is a social being just like William Faulkner puts it, she develops a feeling that there is something strange and therefore, she has to do something about it. She engages into a discussion of her illness that reveals to us the readers that the woman is suffering from nervous depression that is paralleled to her experience in marriage. The narrator complains that her husband, John, apparently her doctor, demeans her illness and thoughts in general.

Charlotte turns around in the script and contrast Johns practical, rationalistic manner with the protagonists personal imaginative, sensitive ways. Contrary to what John believes that her treatment requires solitude: engage in no activity at all like working and writing, the narrator believes that activity, freedom, and interesting work would assist in improving her condition. It is notable from her description of the state of the house that the narrator continuously longs for more stimulating company and activity. William Faulkner in his speech attempted to establish that social beings are not to be patronized and controlled. Instead, they should be stimulated by the society to think and manipulate their environment. The narrator complains about her husbands patronizing and controlling way that are geared towards suppressing her potential. Even though she returns almost immediately to the wallpaper in her description, the experience seems not only ugly but also overtly odd. She mentions that John is worried about her being fixated on the wallpaper. He has gone to the extent of refusing to repaper the room so that the narrator cannot experience her neurotic worries.

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In accordance to William Faulkners assertion, Charlottes story can be interpreted from a feminist perspective. This view point demeans the andocentric supremacy of the health care occupation during the 19th century. For the narrator to get well, it is imperative that she changes her daily activities from the confinement of the room. She should be busy working, meet people and socialize, and take care of her child to feel like a mother. None of her perspectives should be considered irrational. This draws reference to the domestic sphere in which case women were handled differently during the time.

A close consideration of the storyline, it is clear that the writer focuses on the triumph at the end of the story. The end of the story reveals a womans assertion of freedom in a marriage that she felt oppressed. Her insistence on reading and writing as a gender practice as well points to the criticality of the wallpaper. In the event the woman was barred from reading and writing, she would have found a solution to her problems by reading the wallpaper. Through seeing the woman in the wallpaper, the narrator realized that she could not lead her life locked up. This acted as a mirror of social needs to the woman. It points to the fact that literature should always act as the mirror to the society, revealing important social values that are geared towards eliminating discrimination of vulnerable individuals within the community. The story ends by John lying on the floor unconscious and the narrator crawling over her. This symbolizes the woman rising over the man.

On the other hand, Jackson in her story The Lottery explores a contemporary small town American lifestyle compared with an annual ritual called the lottery. In this story, the writer details a small village of approximately 300 people. The residents are happy but nervous. Children collect stones as their adult counterparts assemble for their annual event: the local tradition is practiced to ensure a good harvest. The story seems to condemn aspects of traditional believes that bind people never to straggle beyond their current situation.

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The first two paragraphs of the story reveal that the writer has tactfully explored the season, a period of ancient excess and sacrifice, as well as the stones being most traditional of sacrificial weapons. There is a lot of symbolism in the story that makes it difficult for the reader to unravel the actual implication of the author. This is one aspect that William Faulkner discourages. He says that poets and writers should writer with the mind that people will read and shape their lives based on the information in their literary work. In this story, readers are alerted to be aware of the Hairy Ape within the society. This is considered from a Christian perspective as perverted, which is to a large extent vulgarizing literature. Since people are social beings with rational minds, authors should focus on shaping their lives through providing a ground for choices to be made. Incidences of discrimination have overridden the contemporary writers which much or less demeans the freedom of the art.

In conclusion, William Faulkner acknowledges the fact that people are not savages. They are social beings that have the ability to reason and make choices. They are not meant to be confined in the mind through baseless assertions. He encourages literary artists to help improve the creativity of human beings by informing them about what is morally right in the social context. This has been echoed by the authors of the two stories discussed above.

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