I need help writing an essay connecting "The Yellow Wallpaper" with "Daisy Miller" as a woman's perspective on their society.
how could I start off my intro
I have to do this in a not so obvious way, but interesting way.
At a first glance the texts seem really different, especially when you consider the overarching theme of madness in The Yellow Wallpaper. However, I think there are a number of ways you can do this. Both essays address female sexuality in a pre- Freudian era. The protagonists are both in search of what it means to be a woman, a wife, and in Daisy's case, a lady ( James' major preoccupation in his writings). Society dictates certain norms regarding male-female interaction which both stories relate to the reader through a series of impressions and notions of the unspoken. For instance, it is never fully explained why it is inappropriate for Daisy go on outings unchaperoned with men; it just is an unspoken code of behavior that she is expected to abide by. We can assume that it has to do with sexual chastitiy, but not so much with whether she might actually engage in inappropriate behavior, but rather giving the appearance that she doesn't care about behaving inapproriately. In order to preserve her status as a potential bride under the dictates of heterosexual patriachy, she has to keep up appearances. Her failure to do so is her doom. The narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper also rejects her role as a woman and wife. This narrative has more sexually overt overtones than Daisy Miller. More Recently, Queer Theorists have begun to argue that the homoerotic undertones in the story ( Jenny wanting to sleep in her bed at night, the fact that it is a woman in the wallpaper, and also the strange physical intimacy that the narrator has with her upon a closer reading of the text) lend themselves to an interpretation that suggest that that the narrator rejects not just her husband per se, but the notion of heterosexual sex which is the foundation of patriachy in itself. The text holds her moral agency spotless by making her mad ( actually a hysteric, the female form of madness that one contracts by simply having a uterus. See Gilman's biography for more on this). She sort of just "checks out" by going crazy, and yet is able to narrate a reasonable story to the reader.
Within the framework of nineteenth century literature, the texts address the typical themes of the boundaries and transgressions of class and gender. In particular, the narratives are psychological investigations of female propriety and the constraints and forces society puts in place to keep women in their prescribed roles, and finally, what happens if they break out of those roles.