the yellow wallpaper short story cover
Short stories

Mental Health and Self-Agency: Themes In ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story about a woman’s descent into madness because her doctor husband downplays her mental illness. The story is also an ideal illustration of the 19th century society’s view of mental illness, and clear criticism of the rest cure that was often administered to patients with mental illness.

From a feminist literature perspective, Gilman shows how the lack of self-agency that characterized a woman’s life during the Victorian era was harmful. This literary analysis essay explores mental health and agency as the main themes in Charlotte Perkins’ The Yellow paper and how they intersect to create an ending that can be viewed as mental breakdown and mental freedom at the same time. 

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a jury of her peers feminist short story
Short stories

“A Jury of her Peers” by Susan Glaspell Feminist Analysis

In A Jury of Her Peers (1917) by Susan Glaspell, two women find crucial evidence that could convict a fellow woman for murder but choose to conceal it from the male authorities because they “understand” why she did it. This story is based on true events of the 1901 Hossack Murder Case which Glaspell covered as a reporter. A farmer’s wife (Margaret Hossack) was accused of killing her husband at night with an ax, convicted of murder, but freed after one year when her conviction was overturned and the jury couldn’t come to a consensus in a second trial. Among the issues of concern in the case was the couple’s troubled marriage and accusations of spousal abuse inflicted on Margaret.

This essay will use the feminist literary theory to analyze A Jury of Her Peers by expounding a few elements and themes of feminist literature that are present in the story.

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Poems

“Good Bones” by Maggie Smith Poem Analysis: Exploring the Theme of Realism

How do you tell your children about life and all its realities? How do you explain the fact that life is as evil as it is good? In Maggie Smith’s 2016 viral poem “Good Bones” the speaker resolves to keep the terrible part from her children and offer hope of making the world beautiful instead. The poem is a parent’s reflection of the real world and how they wish their children could perceive it. Taking a closer look, the poem is also the speaker’s effort to convince herself too that maybe the world could be beautiful; that she could make the world beautiful. Smith applies a realist literary style that effectively relays her message and enhances the theme of life’s reality.

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Poems

“Work Without Hope” Poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Using Contrast to Emphasize Lack of Hope

The 1825 Romantic era poem Work Without Hope” by Samuel Taylor is a lamentation of a man who lacks an object to place his hope and thus, wonders aimlessly and directionless amid nature. While slightly unconventional for a sonnet, the poem begins with the speaker romanticizing nature and how it seems busy going on with its unfading life, blooming only for itself. The poet then introduces a sharp contrast between these nature’s activities with his own lack of hope and an object of desire to keep hope alive. In several instances, the author employs this literary device – contrast – to underscore the misery from being directionless and hopeless and to build on the poem’s main theme: hope.

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Short stories

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin Literary Analysis: Plot, Themes, Characters, Setting, and Symbolism

Summary

Kate Chopin’s (1850-1904) short storyThe Story of an Hour” narrates events that happen within an hour. 

Louise Mallard is a young, calm, and frail woman who suffers from a heart disease. On this day, Louise learns from her sister Josephine and a family friend, Richards, that her husband, Brently Mallard, has died. She briefly weeps in Josephine’s arms and then heads to her room alone. 

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theme of irrationality of war in the man he killed by thomas hardy
Poems

War and its Irrationality as Themes in Thomas Hardy’s Poem“The Man He Killed”

Thomas Hardy’s (1840-1928) poem The Man He Killed is a lyrical monologue of a soldier who has returned from war. He’s speaking about the war to his friends and native villagers in a pub. In its 1902 original publication in Harper’s Weekly magazine, the poem’s setting is a scene inside the Foxx Inn pub.

Hardy moved a lot between London and Dorset in his life, finally settling in Dorchester. These areas were popular for their antiwar stances on the ongoing second Boer War in South Africa, which lasted from 1899 to 1902. The Man He Killed is just one of the antiwar poems the poet wrote to show the senselessness and negative effects of war.

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theme of irrationality of war in the man he killed by thomas hardy
Poems

War and its Irrationality in Thomas Hardy’s Poem“The Man He Killed”

Thomas Hardy’s (1840-1928) poem The Man He Killed is a lyrical monologue of a soldier who has returned from war. He’s speaking about the war to his friends and native villagers in a pub. In its 1902 original publication in Harper’s Weekly magazine, the poem’s setting is a scene inside the Foxx Inn pub.

Hardy moved a lot between London and Dorset in his life, finally settling in Dorchester. These areas were popular for their antiwar stances on the ongoing second Boer War in South Africa, which lasted from 1899 to 1902. The Man He Killed is just one of the antiwar poems the poet wrote to show the senselessness and negative effects of war.

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Symbolism of the audiotapes in Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Short stories

 “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver: Symbolism in the Audio Tapes and What they Reveal about each Character

Raymond Carver’s 1983 short story Cathedral is about awakening and eye-opening experiences that go beyond the physical world. It vividly illustrates the difference between merely looking and seeing; hearing and listening that creates a connection. 

The author portrays this so well through the main theme of blindness and other symbolic elements. And more notably, the narrator’s character development, which goes from shallow and insensitive, to gaining the ability to look within themself and see things through another’s perspective. 

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wine barrels low lit
Short stories

Montressor as a Keen Observer of Human Behavior and Psychology: “The Cask Of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.

If you’ve read more of Edgar Allan Poe, then you’ll not be surprised by the horror that is the short story “The Cask of Amontillado.” Other short stories that he had published earlier, such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” set a precedent to this Gothic style of writing. 

Poe is one of the greatest gothic writers. His macabre works are characterized by an eerie atmosphere, mystery, dark psychology, terror, haunted spaces, and so on, all meant to evoke fear. The stories are comparatively short, full of suspense, and with characters often driven by malady, emotional crises, and other chilling motives.

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Stone Mattress
Books, Short stories

Layers and Layers of Experience: “Stone Mattress” by Margaret Atwood

Eventually, our life experiences shape who we become. As it is with human nature, some of these experiences we can control, while others we can’t, so we react. However, the ways we choose to react with love, hurt, or forgive are all our choices.

Stone Mattressis Margaret Atwood’s latest collection of short fiction that she calls ‘tales’ rather than ‘short stories’. The first three tales are connected by narrations and reflections of a poet’s two wives, and lover. While the other stories do not share characters or plot, the entire book is connected through major themes of aging and old age. In “Stone Mattress”, Atwood includes characters that are in their senior years, reflecting on what life has offered, making amends, or retributions.

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