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Representations of Madness in "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Black Cat"

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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is the story of a woman spiralling into madness whilst her physician husband refuses to acknowledge that she has a "real" problem. On the other hand The Black Cat by Edgar Alan Poe is about a man who is initially fond of cats however as the plot progresses he becomes an alcoholic making him moody and violent, which lead him to torture and kills the animals and eventually also his wife. In Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Black Cat," symbolism is used to show the narrator’s capacity for violence, madness, and guilt .The recurring theme present in both these stories is that the main protagonists claim that they suffer or have been taken over by a form of madness. In this essay I shall examine the various symbolism used by the writer's to represent madness.

Madness is mostly represented by both writers through a thing or object. In The Black Cat, eventually the cats become the madness as the protagonists mental state deteriorates. The second cat the protagonist found is the object that is used to represent his guilt for his brutal actions towar...


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