This past summer, my family and I traversed Eastern Europe for a month. One of our stops was Prague in the Czexh Republic. I’ll never forget when we came across the home of Franz Kafka and my father almost jumped with excitment. I was well aware of who Kafka was, and the fact that he’d written a story, which in my mind, sounded hideous, called The Metamorphisis, but I’d never really given any thought to actually sitting down and reading one of his works until I saw my father’s reaction. When we returned to British Columbia, I grabbed my father’s complete collection of Kafka and began to absorb the words like a sponge. Since then, The Metamorphasis has become one of my all-time favorite pieces. Despite the fact that I have an irrational phobia of all invertebrates, I was completely fascinated with Gregor Samsa’s transformation reflecting his personality. I remember how completely appalled I was by his family’s complete detestation and abandonment of their son, the primary bread winner in the family. It shows just how shallow and petty his family is, how they abuse their own son simply for monetary gain. That last page, where the family is on the train, and Gregor’s mother and father remark at the age of their daughter broke my heart. It shows just how little Gregor’s family cared about him. As soon as he was unable to provide, he was completely outcast. I suppose this speaks volumes about our own society, as we tend to remove people from association once they have lost their use for us. All in all, The Metamorphasis has been the text I have looked forward to reading the most, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again.
With regards to Gilman’s The Yellow Wall-Paper, this is another piece that I had always heard about, but never read. I was aware of the fact that she sees figures behind the paper, and that in the end, it is actually her who is being constrained and hidden. However, I never really got why the paper was yellow. Upon reading it, I’m still not entirely sure, but I feel as if it may be a reflection upon everything wrong with the society Gilman lived in. Women were still so oppressed, forced into the role of homemaker, as they would be for years to come. The vile, atrocious colour may serve to represent the corruption of such a patriarchal society, how disgusting the world is, and basically everything unpleasant and malodourous in everyday life. As well, the fact that the narrator has no specific name gives the piece a certain universality, making it even more of a feminist piece. Reading The Yellow Wall-Paper in tandem with Kafka’s work show a certain amount of injustice done to the individual in society just because something is abnormal or wrong.