"Witch of Salem" and "The Yellow Wallpaper"
The theme of social awareness concerning women's issues in "I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem" by Maryse Conde and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman.
# 62171 | 1,452 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005 |
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Two stories that raise social consciousness as well as tell a story are "I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem", by Maryse Conde and "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins-Gilman. The writer explains that Conde and Gilman approach their stories with an overall need to raise consciousness to a segment of history that has literally been overlooked or ignored. Conde raises awareness about the Puritan witch-hunts that occurred in Salem and Gilman raises awareness of women who suffered from postpartum depression in the nineteenth century. It shows how both women attempt to bring attention to areas of concern that have either been neglected or simply aside by society. While both of these pieces of literature have the same aim, the characters in them experience very different outcomes. The writer points out that Tituba gains strength as her life progresses while the narrator in "The Yellow Wallpaper," slowly loses her sense of identity. It concludes that these differing views help us understand the angles from which both authors are operating. By using the narrative form to emphasize the plight of women, each author is giving each story a more personal feel, heightening our experience.
From the Paper:"Both women are struggling against a society that wishes to shut them up. For example, in I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, Tituba demonstrates her strength of character in her desire to pass her story along. She comes from a generation of storytellers and carries on this tradition for herself and future generations. Through her story, she can survive and, as a result, her suffering can possibly help someone else. She is helped along her journey with Mama Yaya, Abena, and Yao, spirits who visit her and offer her advice. While she cannot always speak with them, she is aware of their presence. For instance, sometimes a "frail shadow would communicate a "mysterious warmth in an intangible way" (Conde 84). She is strong enough to withstand beatings of the worse kind and part of this is because of the spirits of the women in her past. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator is struggling not only against her mental illness but also against what her husband and society thinks of her condition. The narrator in this story has no support whatsoever and suffers because she has no to which she can turn. He husband is not convinced that her illness is anything serious and, as a result, treats her like a child most of the time. For example, he tells her that her "imaginative power and habit of story-making . . . is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies" (Gilman 764). His lack of concern coupled with his orders for his wife to move about as little as possible illustrates the scope of the narrator's battle. "
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