Apart from the very apparent theme of transformation that runs through both stories there are also many underlying themes connected with transformation, not just physical but also mental. Metamorphosis sees Gregor wake up one morning physically transformed overnight into a huge insect, by the description given by Kafka, possibly similar in appearance to a cockroach, although the description given does not allow the reader to make any definite identification. He has been the breadwinner of the family, working as a travelling salesman to keep a roof over the heads of his mother, father and younger sister. This is a service that he has got no thanks or recognition for from his parents who do nothing towards the up keep of the household and just expect Gregor to take care of everything.
The Yellow Wallpaper, in contrast, sees the nameless protagonist narrating her confinement to an old nursery in a large house, due to a temporary nervous depression, by her doctor husband. The enforced rest is Gilman’s own version of Silas Weir Mitchell’s treatment of prolonged rest and lack of stimulation, a treatment that Gilman herself had been subjected to. Her mental state gradually transforms throughout the story, until finally she becomes reduced to a childlike state, crawling round the edge of the room, in a relatively sinister way, not even recognising her husband, or stopping when he gets in her way.
Gregor’s relationship with his family undergoes a severe transformation following his unfortunate situation. He goes from being someone who has at least been needed, even though he has not been appreciated, by his family, to something that is despised, feared and neglected. His family themselves also undergo some transformation in the way they conduct themselves. With the misfortune of Gregor they have to become more responsible for themselves, and self sufficient if they are to retain their... [continues]
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