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
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This was illustrated in Gregor's last thought, "He thought of his family with tenderness and love. The decision that he must disappear was one that he held to even more strongly than his sister, if that were possible"(p. 825).
The deterioration of Gregor's life was in part due to the ostracism associated with his being turned into a bug. Once his family found out what happened, they banished him to his room, and his parents could not even bear to look at him. Prior to his metamorphosis, Gregor was an integral part of the family. He provided the money by which the family survived. Yet as soon as he changed, he was labeled an outcast, who was useless to the family, and therefore not paid any attention. He felt this ostracism, and it made him not want to continue on in life, he gave up because he felt unloved.
Likewise, the woman in "The Yellow Wallpaper" was confined because of her mental illness. She, most likely, was suffering from post-partum depression, after the birth of her child. Instead of getting love and attention, and being able to see her child, she was sent to live in a room in a foreign house. She was not allowed out of the one room that her husband picked out. Although she yearned to see the gardens and the rest of the house, her husband would not let her. It was as though she was being punished for her illness. I believe that her confinement had an effect on the progression of her
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