Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kafka vs. Perkins Gilman

So, I finished Metamorphosis. It was different, for sure. I saw some similarities between Metamorphosis and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The latter is in my American Gothic Tales book and one of my favorite stories.

Both characters went through a major life change. Gregor (Kafka) transforms into a large insect. Gilman’s narrator’s husband has moved her to the countryside for the summer.

Both narrators spend most of their time in the story in one room, pretty much isolated from their families and everything else. When the narrators get antsy, the walls become an expansion of the space in which their oh-so-considerate family members have decided to stash them. Gregor literally climbs the walls, dropping off the ceiling for fun. The crazy, yellow wallpaper lady is obsessed with people she sees in the wallpaper and ends up thinking that she is from the wallpaper herself.

What caused me to notice the similarities between these stories was the way the narrators in the stories approach their abnormal dilemmas with somewhat rational lines of thought. Gregor, even though he has transformed into a large insect, is initially most concerned with how his condition will affect his ability to go to work and support his family. This type of thinking carries on throughout the story: he worries about their financial wellbeing without him, the jobs they take on, how the other family members get along, etc. Yellow wallpaper lady is not quite as calm. She grows increasingly paranoid but everything she does is rational to her. Even at the end of the story, when she’s completely lost it, her internal voice is operating in a coherent manner.

Anyway, they’re both worthwhile reads. Yellow Wallpaper is better though. Boo yah.

Here is a cell phone picture of the day. I call this 'eeewwwww, dead snake under a swingset'. I’m not really a morbid person (ok, not a morbid person all of the time), but this is something I don’t see every day.

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