I stated in my Frankenstein blog post that Frankenstein was my most favourite read to date in Arts One, but The Metamorphosis and The Yellow Wallpaper is a close second. One thing that irked me while reading The Metamorphosis is the fact that we are never told exactly how and why Gregor changes into an insect. After all, people don’t transform into bugs for no reason! That aside, I liked the novella. Gregor is, in some ways, the “monster” in the novella. He’s the outsider. His family shuns and ignores him for the most part. Yet, Gregor isn’t the “in the closet” monster that jumps out and says “BOO!” or feast on innocent human beings. He’s a good monster. He’s a monster who gives unconditionally to his family. In his human life, he worked so hard so that he could pay back his parents’ debts and give his sister a better standard of living. When he is transformed into a monster, he is neglected by those he worked so hard for. Unfair? I thought so too. Even when he is transformed, he still has unconditional love for his family. He tries to hide himself whenever possible so that they are not afraid of his appearance. When he realizes, and accepts, that they can no longer look after him, he willingly dies so as to cease being a burden to his family. That’s one good “monster.” Too often, we think of monsters as evil, repulsive creatures.
The Yellow Wallpaper was a somewhat creepy read. Not “The Grudge” kind of creepy, but an eerie read nevertheless. It actually reminded me of the film Paranormal Activity, believe it or not. The “monster” is unseen in this short story, but at the end it possesses- or takes control over- the protagonist. The narrator believes she is now the woman behind the wallpaper. What happens in Paranormal Activity at the end? Katie is possessed. Micah is murdered. While John, the husband in the short story, is alive (only fainted), the fact that he’s unconscious on the floor is reminiscent of the ending to Paranormal Activity, for those who have watched the first movie. I also think that the woman, or women, behind the wallpaper, is actually a mirror reflection of the protagonist. The protagonist is confined to their rental house by her husband. She doesn’t have a confidante and she’s trapped. Is she trying to free herself as she tears the wallpaper? I think so. When people have no control over their lives and no confidants, like the protagonist, I think they turn inward and become mad. It was a very interesting read!