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Trapped in a Cage: Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

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The human mind is something that is very fragile. It is easy for it to be manipulated or hurt by events that have occurred in someone’s past. When the mind is hurt, it looks for something to attach to. For example, it can find comfort in an object that has sentimental value or seek empathy from others such as love and acceptance. In the case of Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrators of both stories appear to have some mental issues when they visit their “vacation homes” respectively. They both gain an unhealthy attachment to the homes and they become unstable as a result.

In Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, our narrator Eleanor is introduced as a lonely person that hates their family. “The only person in the world she genuinely hated, now that her mother was dead, was her sister. She disliked her brother-in-law and her five-year-old niece, and she had no friends.”. The reason why she was like this is because she spent eleven years treating and caring for her ill mother. Eleanor’s loneliness is the reason why her adult life was so unhappy and regrettable. “Without ever wanting to become reserved and shy, she had spent so long alone, with no one to love, that it was difficult for her to talk, even casually, to another person without self-consciousness and an awkward inability to find words.”. For this reason, when she got an invitation from Dr. Montague to help with his research at Hill House she saw it as an opportunity to get away from her problems at home. Perhaps she could meet people that would make her feel wanted since she has never done anything like this before in her life. When Eleanor first got to Hill House she immediately became friends with Theo and felt like she belonged to something for once.

Eleanor was not attached to Hill House when she first arrived. She got really nervous when she arrived at the gates and almost did not enter Hill House. “I should have turned back at the gate, Eleanor thought. The house had caught her with an atavistic turn in the pit of the stomach, and she looked along the lines of its roofs, fruitlessly endeavoring to locate the badness whatever dwelt there; her hands turned nervously cold so that she fumbled, trying to take out a cigarette, and beyond everything else she was afraid, listening to the sick voice inside her which whispered, Get away from here, getaway.”.

Even though she was terrified of the presence of the house at first, she overcame her fear and walked in anyway. Hill House is rumored to be “haunted” and is personified in many different ways. “Hill House has a reputation for insistent hospitality; it seemingly dislikes letting its guests getaway.”. This is important because throughout the duration of the story, Eleanor keeps experiencing paranormal things and it really does change her whole personality. During her stay at Hill House Eleanor starts to become paranoid of everyone around her because she feels like everyone is out to take her place at Hill House. She grows an unhealthy attachment to the house which seemingly captivates her into believing that she has been chosen for something for once. In the end, when she is booted from the research group, she was forced to leave Hill House which is something that she desperately did not want to do. Since she was pulled away from the one thing that brought her any happiness in her life, she ended up killing herself by driving a car into a tree filled with regret.

In Gilman’s, The Yellow Wallpaper the narrator writes about everything in her journal. In this journal, she writes about her thoughts and reactions to the events that happen to and around her. In the beginning of this short story, she introduces John as her husband and her doctor. However, the narrator says that she suffers from nervous depression. The nervous depression comes from her frustration with her marriage. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.”. John mocks her for her illness. “He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.”. She believes that doing something that she finds exciting or pleasant would be a good way to help treat her depression. “Personally, I believe that congenial work with excitement and change would do me good.”. That is why the narrator is hopeful that the house that her husband John got for the summer will bring her happiness and will reignite her romantic passion.

Unlike Eleanor, the narrator for The Yellow Wallpaper is impressed by the house at first and the fact that some ordinary people like her and her husband were even able to get a home like this. However, she did think something was strange about the house because it was cheap and no one has lived there for a long time. “Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?”. John denies the narrator the worries since does not believe in hauntings and superstitions. The narrator does find something about the house that she dislikes. She has a distaste for the yellow wallpaper in the bedroom. “The color is repellant, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight.”. The yellow wallpaper disturbs her in a way which she is just disgusted by it. As time passes during the Summer, the narrator slowly becomes more infatuated with the yellow wallpaper. She tries to figure out the pattern of the wallpaper secretly so no one can disrupt her because she wants to be the one to find out the pattern. The narrator discovers that the wallpaper’s sub-pattern resembles women trying to get past the main pattern of the wallpaper. “The front pattern does move- and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!”. The narrator then relates herself to the women in the pattern by admitting that she too creeps around. She then suspects that John and his sister Jennie, know about her interest in the wallpaper and begins to destroy the wallpaper. She starts to tear off the wallpaper to save the “trapped woman”. At this state, the narrator is no longer sane and believes that she is the trapped woman. When John sees what has happened to her he is in shock and faints.

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Trapped in a Cage: Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/trapped-in-a-cage-jacksons-the-haunting-of-hill-house-and-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/
“Trapped in a Cage: Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/trapped-in-a-cage-jacksons-the-haunting-of-hill-house-and-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/
Trapped in a Cage: Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/trapped-in-a-cage-jacksons-the-haunting-of-hill-house-and-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/> [Accessed 27 Jun. 2022].
Trapped in a Cage: Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2022 Jun 27]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/trapped-in-a-cage-jacksons-the-haunting-of-hill-house-and-gilmans-the-yellow-wallpaper/
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