I need help to compare and contrast "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan in analytical essay form, including literary devices, literary conventions, theme...

I need help to compare and contrast "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan in analytical essay form, including literary devices, literary conventions, theme and writing style. Can anyone help me with this?

"Two of a Kind" by Amy Tan

"Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A critical analysis essay in literature involves examining the literary text for elements and techniques.

  • Literary elements (which are common to all literature)
  • literary techniques (which vary widely between different works of literature)
  • elements and techniques are the two categories of "literary devices"

So when asked to analyze "literary devices," you are being asked to examine the text, then identify and analyze (understand and describe and find inter-related connections between) the literary elements and the literary techniques in the work at hand.

Some of these literary elements are character, tone, voice, narrator, point of view, theme, structure, writing style (diction, syntax, vocabulary, figurative language, voice etc), and literary convention and genre. Some of these literary techniques are metaphor, metonymy, irony, figurative language such as personification and simile, symbolism, imagery, sound devices such as onomatopoeia and alliteration, etc. 

When you are writing a comparative critical analysis essay that compares and contrasts two (or more) works, you will provide the above analysis of both works and compare or contrast the results of each with the other. For example, the stories compare in literary elements in that the narrators and points of view of both stories are women speaking in first-person:

I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity (Gilman)

I pictured this prodigy part of me as many different images, (Tan)

The stories also compare with each other in that they share a common thematic element in that two people are struggling against each other: one demands something of the other that the second cannot provide, and the effort to provide it nonetheless dramatically affects the second person. The nature of the affects of this struggle is each is contrastive in that Gilman's narrator goes mad while Tan's narrator just gets mad and asserts herself and demands her own selfhood.

The stories contrast in literary technique in that Gilman uses more imagery that describes beauty while Tan uses more imagery that describes people:

There is a delicious garden! I never saw such a garden--large and shady, full of box-bordered paths, and lined with long grape-covered arbors with seats under them. (Gilman)

It was being pounded out by a little Chinese girl, ... with a Peter Pan haircut. The girl had the sauciness of a Shirley Temple. She was proudly modest, like a proper Chinese Child. (Tan)

Your analysis will proceed in the manner of the analysis we have considered together, and your essay will show in what devices they contrast or compare (are different or the same).

There are two common ways to compose a comparative analytical essay. You may have two sections in which you analyze first the one story, then the other story, while in the second section (analyzing the second title) you note similarities and differences. You may also compose your essay so that both stories are discussed in relation to each device, as we have done here in the discussion of thematic elements and imagery: Gilman and Tan are discussed and quoted side-by-side in relation to each device.

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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