Out of the three short stories “Tell Tale Heart”, “Yellow Wallpaper”, and “Strawberry Spring”, “Tell Tale Heart” did the best at establishing the characters mental state. This is due to the fact that it is plain as day that the character is insane from the beginning; but he gets more and more insane as the story progresses. “The disease had sharpened my senses”(Page 37). At this point in the story the character knows that he is believed to be insane but he is trying to defend. He does this by saying that instead of his senses being destroyed they were sharpened.
He is trying to defend himself even though no one said that he was insane yet. This alone is a small give away that he is not in the right mind. “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. ”(Page 37). At this point the reader is well aware that the character is insane. The character is telling the reader that he killed the old man just because his eye resembled a vulture’s eye. There is a certain level of insanity it takes to kill someone just because of a defective eye and this shows the reader that the character has reached this level of insanity.
Also, being kind to the man shows that he had a friendship with this man and he is still able to kill him just because of his eye. “But the beating grew louder, Louder! I thought my heart must burst”(Page 39). This shows that by the end of the story the character has grown more insane. He is hearing the beating of the old man’s heart under the floorboards even though he is dead. He is hearing this because he is very nervous with the officers there, and he thinks the officers hear it too so he believes that they are mocking him.
The beating gets louder and louder until the character finally freaks out and tells the officers where he hid the body. The next story is “Yellow Wallpaper”. This story came pretty close in how well the author establishes the character mental state. The character grows more and more mad because of the wall paper in the room that she spends most of her time in. “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression- a slight hysterical tendency” (Page 437).
This shows that there is something wrong with the mental state of the character, but the reader does not yet know to what extent the mental state is. As a reader this shows that her husband is a physician and will probably do anything to get his wife better. As part of getting his wife better he decide to rent out a old estate for a long period of time. “I didn’t know realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman. ” (Page 443).
Now the reader knows that the character is a little more mentally unstable than previously mentioned, but this is not the part that is that insane. It is the fact that she does not get this theory out of her mind and she dwells on the fact that she thinks a woman in trapped by the wallpaper and she tries to free her. ““I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back! ” Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time! (Page 447).
This is the ending of the story and this is where the reader truly understands how insane the character actually is. She believes that she was the one stuck in the wallpaper and she is creeping around the room the way she imaged the lady in the wallpaper creeped within the wallpapers. As her husband walked into the room after he retrieved the key he fainted and since he fell in the path of the woman’s “creeping”, she walks over him every time she makes a lap around the room. the last story was “”Strawberry Spring”.
This story is pretty similar to the other stories other than the fact that the character doesn’t realize at all that they were crazy and had no recollection that they were even doing the killing. “On my way way past there to my ten o’clock class I was asked to show my student ID. I was clever. I showed him the one without fangs. ” (Page 2). This is the first time in the story that the character shows anything abnormal about them to the reader. This is enough information to put up some red flags but this is not enough to show that the characters mental state is anything other than a little abnormal. “It wasn’t a pleasant ride.
For all any of us knew, Springheel Jack might have been in the car with us. ” (Page 5). Even toward the end of the story the narrator has no idea that he was the one doing all the killing. The character was driving six other people downstate to get away from the school because of all the killing the previous nights. “I can hear my wife as I write this, in the next room, crying. She thinks I was with another woman last night. And oh dear God, I think so too. ” (Page 6). Up until this point in the story, the end, the reader does not know that the character was doing the killing and it is this point that the character realizes it for himself.