The Metamorphosis, The Yellow Wallpaper

I’ve never really liked “The Metamorphosis”, probably because he becomes a disgusting cockroach-beetle thing, but also because I could never figure out how I felt about Gregor. On the one hand, he’s an idiot and his family takes advantage of that, living off of him, siphoning off money, locking him in his room, throwing apples at him, and he still thinks the best of them. On the other, he’s really just trying to be a good breadwinner for his family, and maybe a bit slow to not realize they’re actually quite hostile towards him, especially near the end. It may also be that none of the characters are likeable, they’re all very horrid. Grete puts on a brave face at first and tends to Gregor, which is nice, but she slowly develops resentment towards him. It seems that this occurs when she gives up hope he will return to being human. The mother is annoyingly fragile. The first thing she does when she sees bug-Gregor for the first time is silly, she faints. The whole women-fainting-because-they’re-delicate-and-fragile thing has just gotten irritating. Then, there’s the dad, who’s just selfish. He throws apples at his own son and lets them rot in his back. He’s also really disgruntled when he finally has to get off of his chair and out of his pajamas to go out and work. All in all, it’s a very depressing story, and I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

I liked “The Yellow Wallpaper” a great deal more. It has just the right mixture of sanity in the beginning and insanity for the end. It was written very well with the details. The yellow wallpaper is mentioned very subtly to start, and then the obsession develops, but the progression was really great. I’m not concerned with if she’s crazy or not when she’s creeping at the conclusion, but I am disappointed she remained stuck to the wallpaper, not even leaving the house. I was hoping that as her anger towards John grew, so would her craving to escape. It feels like a hollow victory. Yes, she’s finally defied John, but she still remains in his grasp. When he wakes from his faint, he will regain control of her, though probably not her mind, and she will be admitted to a psych ward. Really cool story, though.

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