Comparison of Themes in The Yellow Wallpaper and the Metamorphosis

Comparison of Themes in The Yellow Wallpaper and the Metamorphosis

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Comparison of Themes in The Yellow Wallpaper and the Metamorphosis


Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis" contain many similarities. They both have the common theme of the deterioration of the main character's life and mind, as well as the theme of the ostracism of outcasts in society. They also both deal with the main characters gaining a freedom through the demise of their previous lives.
The woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is slowly deteriorating in mental state. When she first moves into the room in the old house, the wallpaper intrigues her. Its pattern entrances her and makes her wonder about its makeup. But slowly her obsession with the wallpaper grows, taking over all of her time. She starts to see the pattern moving, and imagines it to be a woman trapped behind the wallpaper. The total deterioration of her sanity is reached when she becomes the woman she imagined in the wallpaper and begins creeping around the room.
Similar to the woman in Gilman's story, Gregor, in "The Metamorphosis," watches as his life slowly deteriorates. He woke up one morning to find himself to have taken the shape of a bug. But early on he tried to continue in his normal activities; he focused on how he was going to make it to the train station so he did not miss his train, and how his employer would be upset with his absence from work. Then he begins to realize that he is a bug, and he cannot live his life the same way he used to. His sister begins to take care of him, and he loses touch with everything human that he used to know. His mother and father take away all of his furniture and other possessions. Gregor's family come to the agreement that the bug must be eliminated, it...


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...n be seen as her overcoming his total control over her life. She was now taking control, almost taking over the role that he had previously occupied.
In conclusion, the stories of "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Metamorphosis" have clear similarities in theme. The main characters go through life-altering changes, causing them to be perceived as outcasts. They also eventually gain a freedom from these changes. These stories seem to show that such the shedding of a previous life is not always a bad thing, as much as it might seem that way at the time. Although Gregor's metamorphosis into a bug was not a convenient change, it helped him to see how his family really was, and how little they cared about him. And the woman's deteriorating mental health helped her to gain a new life and a freedom from her husband. In our lives, change may not always be a bad thing.

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