• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the portrayal and use of madness in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Which story did you prefer and why

Extracts from this document...


Compare the portrayal and use of madness in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Which story did you prefer and why? The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe both describe characters who in the opinion of other people are insane. The characters' hysterical behaviour due to their insanity is depicted as the stories progress. The Yellow Wallpaper was written for a reason to demonstrate how women were treated in society in the 19th Century. The Tell-Tale heart was written primarily for the purpose of entertainment. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe have both been written in the first person. This is for a number of important reasons. In both stories the main character's descent into insanity is effectively portrayed by the character's increasingly irrational behaviour and neurotic thoughts. If the books had not been written in the 1st person then the reader would not know the character's feelings and reactions to events in the books. By writing the stories in the first person, the reader is able to step inside the mind of the character and experience what they think. ...read more.


Although she does demonstrate irrational behaviour and it is due to her insanity, she is aware of the fact that other people find this type of behaviour unusual. This is shown when she says: "I always lock the door when I creep by daylight. I can't do it at night, for I know John would suspect something at once.". The man's behaviour in The Tell-Tale Heart in response to his irrational phobia is very extreme but he too is aware that people find his actions neurotic. It is clear that the murder he commits is not the only irrational thing he has done due to his madness because he talks about the fact that he was ill and he knows that people use his illness as an excuse for his previous behaviour. Instead of using it as an excuse he reassures the reader that in fact it heightened his senses: "The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them." he uses this as an excuse because his senses were so acute that he could hear the beating of the dead man's heart. In both stories, the characters also show obsessive tendencies towards objects. ...read more.


The language used to describe the systematic chopping up of the corpse is very powerful and cold. Throughout the story the author particularly uses language repetition, the best example of this is when the man hears the heart beating, "...but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder - louder - louder!" The two stories were written for two very different reasons, The Tell-Tale Heart was written for the sole purpose of entertainment, whilst The Yellow Wallpaper written for political reasons. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her story to demonstrate the woman's place in society in the 19th Century. Both stories capture the imagination and hold the reader's attention through use of the first person. The climax in each story is very different and powerful as well as unexpected. On a personal level I preferred The Tell-Tale Heart for the following reasons. Firstly I found the woman's account in The Yellow Wallpaper, although interesting, a little too emotional and personal to feel comfortable for me to relate to. This may be a gender response. On the other hand, I found that I could relate more easily to the dramatic qualities in The Tell-Tale Heart and the progress towards the final denouement better captured my imagination. This story also felt more timeless which makes it far easier to relate to. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Edgar Allan Poe section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Edgar Allan Poe essays

  1. Assessing the Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Poe.

    " But the beating grew louder, I say louder!" "The old man's hour had come!" In the last two paragraphs you can see how by telling the story from the first person's perspective Poe takes the tension to it's climax by giving you an insight of the murderers guilty conscious mind.

  2. Edgar Allan Poe 'Tell Tale Heart' and 'the fall of the house of Usher

    Just before the murder Poe creates a very uptight feeling. At first the pace is slow matching that of the murderers but then it quickens as the time comes for the murder to occur. Poe uses the old man's heart to convey a restless environment.

  1. Compare and contrast the narrative techniques used in three or more of Edgar Allan ...

    From the opening of the story the character is seeking to persuade the audience that he is not insane, because he believes he is exceedingly intellectual for slaughtering the "evil eye". Later on in the story it comes apparent to the audience that this man is in reality insane, proof

  2. How does Edgar Allan Poe keep the reader in suspence in 'The Tell tale ...

    Poe talks about 'death' throughout the story, 'week before I kill him', 'death watches in the wall', 'because death, in approaching him', 'dead hour', 'yes, he was stone, stone dead' and 'I must scream or die' so these quotes mentioning death that are all through the story give the story

  1. Compare the two nineteenth century horror stories, 'The Black Cat' and 'The Tell-Tale Heart' ...

    Poe also uses visual description in the stories. "The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eyes of fire..." This phrase of writing from 'The Black Cat' goes into great visual detail about the corpse which makes it a lot easier to picture the story in your head.

  2. The Tell Tale Heart is a story written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1843. ...

    This effects the reader as the "hinges creaked" is commonly associated with haunted or old houses, so we are automatically put in a "horror" genre frame of mind, also adding suspense, as we are not sure if the old man will hear something and wake up.

  1. Comparison of 'The Tell Tale Heart', 'The Black Cat', and 'The Oval Portrait'.

    'Amid the dreadful silence of that old house' is a quote taken from 'The Tell Tale Heart'. It refers to the setting in which the servant kills his master. It is also told from the servant's perspective. 'Its walls were hung with tapestry and bedecked with manifold and multi form

  2. Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" - A critical comparison.

    In the beginning of the story the narrator is depicted as a man whom is comfortable with his life, and seemingly happy with his surroundings. He then becomes more and more burdened with the things in his life which are close to him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work