Intro to Short Fiction
In the two short stories that are presented, there is a thing that is seen and that is mothering and the failure of it. In “Desiree’s Baby” Desiree, the main character, has a baby who appears to be another ethnicity. This confuses Desiree as to how this came to be as anything that would explain the difference in skin color was destroyed in a fire. Desiree is forced to leave everything behind because her husband burned every possession of hers. He discovered who Desiree really was destroying all proof of her ethnicity. A common theme in both stories is about being a mother and what determines the character’s importance of the job of being a mother to a child. In the “Yellow Wallpaper”, the main character is instructed to go on a rest cure after the birth of their newly child, but she becomes obsessed about this room having a yellow smell, breakneck pattern and missing patches and becomes a part of it. She is a failure of the mothering aspect as well because she becomes manic about a room and loses all self-control about herself. Perception is reality is presented in both short stories, it is what both mothers believe, hear and think about. It is important to figure out on who you are as a person and to see if you are willing to take care of another life.
As mothers in both stories, they are both held as psychological hostages in the houses in which they dwell. They both go through rough times in their short stories because they either don’t know who they are or what they consist as a person. In Desiree’s situation, it is psychological circumstances which limit define and destroy her. Her husband changes his manner towards her based on the information he just learned about her which she did not cared ask because it could possibly get worse for her. Her husband telling her that her baby is not white and telling her she is not white Desiree becomes convinced of this perception which makes her emotionally and sociologically destroyed. it is similar for Gilman’s narrators reality as it is distorted. It is more of a psychological distortion that is created into a sociological one. The narrator couldn’t be a mother in way because she is going through a lot with depression and in the end goes crazy and destroys the room.
The thing that is very presentable in both stories is that perception is reality. Do people believe that perception is reality? It is important to know in my opinion. It is known that people who perceive usually want to believe, and this is based on what they hear, see, and think. In the Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator sees a girl within the wallpaper, but it only occurs when she cannot sleep at night. Her husband is lost on why she is so deep into this room when he finds it just normal. Most of the time we cannot control what happens but they can always control their reactions. It is not seen in Desiree’s Baby, but she does face reality when she finds out she is not fully white, and panics on what she should do. It is something that shows when one is going through something that causes deep emotions.
Being a mother seems to be a challenge in both these short stories because the two mothers in each story can’t understand who they are as a person. The “Yellow Wallpaper” recently had a newborn, but cannot take rest and goes delusional on a wallpaper she grows a part too. In “Desiree’s Baby”, she’s not sure on what ethnicity she is and determines the baby is not white and a part with Satan, but she leaves her husband and mother without a word. She takes the baby with her in the end and is on her own. It is like one mother is failing due to mental health issues and the other is the fact she doesn’t know anything about herself and her past because her husband burned it all after finding out that she isn’t white after all. It’s interesting in both stories that both mothers have people surrounding them that are willing to help them go through the issues they have recently just got. The stories play the role of a mother, but it comes to a part where they simply can’t do it.
The two books show a sign in failed mothering even though one of short stories doesn’t show the caring of the child but the other does. In Desiree’s Baby, the mother of the daughter who had a kid sort of fails as a mom to protect her daughter from being at home with her to being on her own. The Yellow Paper does not show the affection of the child, but shows us on how the mother would be if she can’t take care of herself correctly. The husband and the sister try helping her out, but she is lost in her own world and falls for affection to a wallpaper. Despite anything the narrator is suffering from depression which prevents her from taking care of her baby. The mothers in both stories suffer from something that happens to them mentally which causes them to not have faith in themselves as mothers.
The people around the mothers are supposed to be there to help them and support them on whatever is going on in their lives. The people in both stories show effort to help, but it isn’t enough for the mothers in the end of the stories. The mother in the Yellow Wallpaper became a part of the wall and the husband fainted while the sister was helpless in my opinion, but it shows them that it was not enough for them. The mother in Desiree’s Baby leaves the husband, and takes the baby, while the mom of Desiree’s tried to show effort in bringing herself and the baby to live with them since the husband did not care about her anymore. If someone cares about someone, they should show them the support they need to get through whatever they go through. It must be frustrating for the people who try to help the mothers out, but when it can be out of line, then you may need to call someone to ask what to do, but these short stories were based on the Victorian age and slavery era so it is questionable.