Comparative

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Both texts of choice, ‘The Metamorphosis’ and ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ are undoubtedly unique in their content, but more so that they both encourage us to form a deep sense of empathy from their readers, as both Gilman and Kafka encourage a shared sense of pain for their protagonists. This is through the powerful use of language not only in characterisation, but also in the description of place and surrounding. Despite this however, this essay will consider how far such a feeling of sorrow and pity extends beyond the texts, and consideration must be given as to whether or not ‘They break the frozen sea within us ’ as Kafka himself put it. If we take the above quote from Franz Kafka, it strongly suggests that Kafka’s wish for a book to create a ‘sense of pain’ is reflected in his novel. However, despite the intentions of Kafka, whether or not this is true in the case of ‘The Metamorphosis’ is another matter in the dichotomy of authorial intention. Granted, the structure of the novel is one which is emotively powerful. If we begin by analysing the language in the opening chapters, we see the transformation of Gregor into a ‘sorrowful creature’, as Kafka describes his legs ‘waving feebly’ and his ‘heart pulsing abnormally’. Moreover, Gregor is intentionally described as ‘physically repulsive’, evidence of this can be found with the clerk’s reaction to Gregor, as he ‘escapes the house, with a face as pale as death’. This reaction of disgust is not limited to the minor characters, as the text shows the protagonists disgust in himself as well. Gregor ‘closes his eyes’ so he doesn’t have to see his ‘wriggling legs’. Such a description is powerful, as the text dehumanises Gregor, and provokes the question, If Gregor cannot even accept hims... ... middle of paper ... ...aim both authors use language as a vehicle to do so. Both protagonists are extensively patronised in both texts. We see Gregor’s mother claim ‘he is not capable of doing the simplest of tasks... he is but a child’ and the same can be seen with Gilman as John’ laughs’ at the protagonist. If we reference my previous point of perception, such patronisation infantilises her, and as aforementioned, the scene for the novel is in actuality a ‘nursery’ which Gilman reveals within the novel. Undoubtedly there is a family hierarchy present, with John being at the very top of such. He is largely the totalitarian figure in the family structure, who refuses to acknowledge his wife’s opinions. As shown before blaming her mental anguish on ‘a draught’. Moreover he also ‘personally disagrees’ with the ideas of his wife, and as he puts it ‘what is he to do about such absurdities?’

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