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Comparing Women in “A Rose for Emily” and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” (Essay Sample)


Compare the social pressures and cultural mores in Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper.” Consider the attitudes towards
women and the prescribed gender roles, as well as the effects of these cultural norms
on the female protagonists: Faulkner’s Emily and Gilman’s unnamed female narrator.
Your argument should focus on how big of a role social pressures play in the actions
and fates of the two characters.
Write a thesis-driven response to the assigned readings that moves beyond our class discussion of the text. The paper should make a compelling and arguable claim about the literary work and support it with textual evidence. Remember that a thesis is your best reply to an important question that doesn’t have a “right” answer. A thesis makes a claim that is arguable and debatable. You may respond to one of the discussion questions I have provided or you may come up with your own, but make sure that the question you select can sustain a complete, well-developed response.

Your thesis should be original and should challenge or complicate a simple reading of the text. Once you have offered an intriguing thesis, you must support it with ample evidence from the work itself. Offer paraphrases and direct quotes as evidence, but don’t assume that they alone will convince your readers. Instead, provide analysis of and commentary on your textual evidence to demonstrate what a particular paraphrase or quote means in your view, why it is significant, and how it supports your thesis. The best essays will not only identify particular themes and features of the text(s) but also be able to articulate their larger significance – why, in other words, they matter in the larger context.

You dress your ideas with your voice, diction, and sentence fluency, so use them appropriately. When you get ready for a party or a job interview or church or class, you choose what you will wear based on certain conventions and expectations as well as the impression that you’re trying to make. Writing is no different. You have a range of options when it comes to your writing style; select the one that is best suited to your purpose—to convince me that you have something worthwhile to contribute to a discussion of the text.

Do not try to steal from someone else’s wardrobe by adopting a writing style that is not your own. Make sure you are comfortable with the language you are using, that you truly own it and that it feels natural to you. Use a thesaurus to remind you of words that have momentarily escaped you, not to find new ones. There is no need to be overly formal, but be aware that casual language often reflects (or even leads to) casual thinking. Feel free to use first-person, if it strengthens your paper, but avoid phrases like “I believe,” “I think,” or “I will argue.” Humor and wit are always welcome, but they are never substitutes for sound reasoning or solid argument.

Submission Guidelines
· At least 4 FULL pages, double-spaced
· MLA guidelines: no title page; running header: last name and page number; heading on first page: name, instructor name, course, date; 12 pt. Times New Roman font, or something equivalent; 1” margins; parenthetical page citations; no Works Cited needed if you use only the NA

Response Paper Rubric

Content (85)
· Is your thesis original, compelling, and arguable?
· Does your response move beyond our class discussion of the text?
· Does your paper offer adequate textual support for your thesis through apt quotes and paraphrases?
· Does your paper provide appropriate analysis of your textual evidence to demonstrate how it supports your thesis?

Organization (25)
· Does your introduction engage your reader by raising an interesting problem or compelling question?
· Does each paragraph have a single, clear idea?
· Does your paper employ effective transitions and clear topic sentences?
· Do you clearly connect the textual support you offer to your overall argument?
· Does your conclusion indicate how your response contributes to our overall understanding of the text?

Mechanics, Voice, Sentence Fluency, and Word Choice (15)
· Is the voice engaging and appropriate for the assignment?
· Are the sentences comprehensible, varied, and easy to read?
· Is the diction clear and precise?
· Does the paper follow punctuation, grammar, spelling, and usage guidelines of American English?
· Use MLA conventions (as specified in the guidelines section)

Resource for writing about literature: http://www(dot)wwnorton(dot)com/college/english/naal8/writing.aspx


Student’s Name
Comparing Women in “A Rose for Emily” and “The Yellow Wall-Paper”
Throughout time, women have always been exposed to various social pressures that demanded them to act in a certain way as dictated by men. While some succumb to these pressures, some take a firm stand and react against these pressures and oppression. In Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” and Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” the authors present women that become victims of these social pressures as they live in household in which the male figure dominates. Based on this, this paper argues that the social pressures that Gilman’s female narrator and Faulkner’s Emily faced played a role in isolating them thereby driving them to insanity.

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