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The Relation Between the Setting And the Character In

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The Relation Between the Setting And the Character In "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Big Two-Hearted River" Lidia Rigga I MSU The aim of this paper is to analyze the importance and relation of the setting and characters in the two short stories: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River". The setting in "The Yellow Wallpaper" helps illustrate the theme of solitary confinement and exclusion from the public resulting in insanity. The house rented by the characters for the summer as well as the surrounding scenery suggest an isolated environment. Because of its vast "colonial mansion" look, its age and state of degradation, a supernatural hypothesis is implied: the place is haunted by ghosts. The nursery room with barred windows provides an image of loneliness and seclusion experienced by the protagonist. ...read more.


This will be Nick's last contact with civilization as he immerses himself in the natural world. The most significant feature of the setting is the river, "clear and smoothly fast in the early morning". It symbolizes spiritual renewal for Nick, his escape from suffering and the troubled world. Another important part of the setting are grasshoppers which have turned black, and thus have the same colour as the burnt land. Their accommodation may indicate Nick's adjustment to the present situation. The setting also consists of the dark swamp which is forbidding, not to be faced at the moment, as the fishing there is "tragic". Jane, the protagonist of "The Yellow Wallpaper", dominated by her husband, suffers from a nervous disorder which is enhanced by her feeling of being trapped within the room. ...read more.


Throughout the story, setting up his tent, catching fish and cooking by himself, lifts Nick's spirit by creating his own personal utopia. He finds nature to be the best escape from the cruel world. He creates his own paradise on earth, assessing his situation with the word "good" in the same way as God assessed His creation in the Old Testament. In conclusion, the way of presenting setting and characters in both stories is similar to some extent. First of all, Jane and Nick's experiences and feelings are expressed through the setting which influences their behaviour and carries symbols for them. While the setting in "The Yellow Wallpaper" indicates the narrator's imprisonment and gradual deterioration of her mental health, in "Big Two-Hearted River" it helps the protagonist recover from the traumatic past and escape to the better calmer world. Both characters in their specific way make an effort to substitute the uncomfortable reality with something which could enable them to forget their pains. ...read more.

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