I’ve read the Yellow Wallpaper many times before and each time reading it has been interesting. The protagonist’s thoughts and actions show the reader that it was possible for her illness – I assume she was depressed after giving birth to her child – to be cured or even helped. However, at that time, medicine did not allow for psychological illnesses to be considered ‘real illnesses’ and that is why her husband John does not truly believe himself that she is really as ill as she claims. John is an extremely unlikeable character in this short story. Whenever she wants company he says having “society and stimulus” would be bad for her and yet that is exactly what she needs at this point instead of being stuck in a hideous room. This short story also deals with the view of mental illness in the 1890′s – the protagonists husband refuses to accept the fact that she might be actually ill and not just suffering from some nervous disorder.
Franz Kafka’s “the Metamorphosis” was a short story I’d heard about many times. I read his other short story “The Hunger Artist” in high school and I found it weird and compelling and sad all at the same time. “Metamorphosis” was an extremely compelling short story. Having an ordinary middle class man suddenly turn into a cockroach (beetle? insect?) is surprising and strange. There is no explanation given for this transformation, nothing out of the ordinary happened to him and yet he suddenly just turned into a cockroach. Sometimes there doesn’t have to always be a reason for a short story to come about, it could be that just simply one morning he woke up a creature which he was not before and there’s simply nothing anyone can do about it. Kafka’s story-telling abilities are astounding in this story, I ended up feeling miserable while reading the story even though I hate insects and found the idea ridiculous to begin with. There’s nothing happy about this story – no happy ending, no idea of a better tomorrow nothing to give one hope and I think that sometimes with a story like this you kind of see reality because there aren’t always good endings there are just things which happen and sometimes you really can’t do anything about them.