The Issues Of Confinement, Seclusion And Imprisonment In “The Yellow Wallpaper” And “The Most Dangerous Game”
About five billion people in the world have cell phones, and, just in America, the average amount of text messages sent in a day by adults, ages from eighteen to twenty-four, are a little more than one hundred and twenty-eight. Now, picture having to stay in one room or on one piece of land and every way of getting in contact with someone, and socializing with them, is suddenly taken away. In the two short stories, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “The Most Dangerous Game”, written by Richard Connell, the main characters, the protagonists, become secluded and confined from all forms of society.
Confinement can drive one insane if secluded for long periods of time, which many people can notice while reading these short stories. This is shown by Jane’s depression, more specifically, her extremely severe case of postpartum depression, in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and in “The Most Dangerous Game” when General Zaroff is secluded on Ship Trap Island, where no one else lived anymore, causing him to get bored of hunting animals, but instead, hunts people; therefore, when Rainsford is trapped on the island with General Zaroff, General Zaroff hunts Rainsford.
First. the author of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, was born the day prior to the fourth of July in the year of eighteen sixty. Gilman’s childhood did not involve her father because he left her family. “‘The doctor said that if my mother had another baby she would die […] Presently, my father left home […] What I do know is that my childhood had no father”. Gilman’s father left her family after the passing of Gilman’s brother and it seems as if he could not bear to hear that Gilman’s mother could not have another child. Gilman had severe depression, and this could be caused by the lack of her father being around during her childhood.
Jane, the protagonist in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, has severe depression so her and her husband, John, decide to move to into a huge mansion-like house in the middle of the country so that it is be easier to keep Jane away from people and society. Jane is ordered by the doctor, who is her husband, to do rest cure. She, also, is not allowed to take care of her own daughter, who is just a baby. “It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby”. Mary is John’s sister and she is the one who takes care of Jane’s baby. Jane is not able to provide care for her baby because they are afraid that Jane might harm the baby since she has depression, which could cause some concerning thoughts for Jane. Jane must stay in one room in the attic that looks like a mental institution’s room. “I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls”. This is part of the doctor’s orders. Jane absolutely hates the wallpaper in the room because it is yellow, and she does not care for the pattern on it. As the days go on, she keeps getting these strange thoughts of women from behind the wallpaper trying to be set free. This could represent Jane trying to be set free from the room, having depression, and her life. Jane thinks that she sees them creeping around the house, like outside, and in the room; as a result, Jane locks the door and shoves furniture in front of it, so that John has a hard time getting in the room, and decides to creep around the room herself. Jane’s confinement in this room has driven her completely insane and only made her condition worse.
Sanger Rainsford, the protagonist in the story, becomes stranded on Ship Trap Island. Rainsford, shortly after, meets General Zaroff. The general has specific rules for people who enter his house. No one can enter or leave the general’s house without his permission. Therefore, once Rainsford steps into the general’s house, he is stuck there until the general gives him the okay to leave, which the general never does, keeping him trapped. Both men are avid hunters, except, General Zaroff likes to hunt humans. This is known as General Zaroff’s most dangerous game. General Zaroff hunted Rainsford because, like all human beings, Rainsford was able to reason with General Zaroff. “‘I wanted the ideal animal to hunt,’ explained the general […] ‘It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason’” (Connell 7). The only animal that can reason with anyone or anything is a human being. They were also secluded from the rest of the world and could not go to anyone for help during the hunting. Rainsford used to like hunting animals because he thought that animals did not have emotions and could not really understand exactly what was going on. “‘Bah! They’ve no understanding.’” Now that Rainsford was being hunted, he realized that animals do understand when they are being hunted for and he also realized how the animals feel. Rainsford was confined to this island and no one can help him escape being hunted by General Zaroff. General Zaroff knows of every place on the island and has many advantages to hunting General Zaroff; therefore, that even narrows down where Rainsford can go in terms of hiding, so now he’s even more confined and secluded.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Most Dangerous Game” both talk about characters being confined and secluded from the world. The protagonist, Jane, in “The Yellow Wallpaper” has a mental illness and the protagonist, Rainsford, in “The Most Dangerous Game” is being hunted by General Zaroff, who is clearly a psychopath. Confinement can drive one insane if they are exposed to it for a long time. This is shown by Jane’s postpartum depression and what she goes through and by the hunting of Rainsford, which is conducted by General Zaroff. Both stories show the world about important it is to have morals and values, and to care for one another.
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