The Metamorphosis & The Yellow Wallpaper

In my opinion, I found Kafka’s short story to intrigue me in more ways than some other pieces we have read so far. I thought that The Metamorphosis was an immensely compelling and tragic story. As I reader, I would say that it left me really pondering things, and wanting more out of the story. The fact that a normal man undergoes such a gruesome transformation so quickly, and in a flash.. his entire life gets robbed from him, is a depressing concept to grasp.  This isn’t a story that left me feeling satisfied or happy, to say the least. It is a tale that makes one feel absolutely miserable and confused. It made me wonder how something so awful could happen to one man, and how in the end, he must sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Essentially, his life is doomed from the get go of this transformation, and its really only a matter of time until he realizes what must happen in order to rid his family of misfortune, or being at severe risk. The anger and resentment that derives from this tragedy is definitely a detail I took note of. How quickly one’s life can alter and for no given reason to support such a drastic and life-altering change! So as I previously stated, The Metamorphosis was a story that deeply affected me. It triggered something in me that Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde etc, did not. Perhaps it is because this unalterable change occurred simply out of the blue, and to a man who was not looking for it at all… but I found the story to be very compelling and thought provoking. Leaving me miserable and consumed with the tragedy of it all, I found Kafka’s thoughts and story-telling ability to be sensational, and the tale as a whole remarkable.

As for the Yellow Wallpaper, I also found this poem to be pretty interesting too. I recall reading it in Grade 11 and deeply analyzing it then, granted prior to reading it again now, I was a bit hazy on some details, but nonetheless, I thought that this poem was also written well, and the story also gripping. One of the most notable scenarios is when the narrator describes her being confined within the four yellow walls. I found her description of everything that she was seeing, or thought she was seeing to be nail biting. Her utter hysteria and arguable insanity becomes quite noticeable and vivid at this point in the narration, especially when she states, “I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled.” This poem is brilliant. I absolutely loved reading it, and it definitely makes one feel like their going psycho even reading it. Generally speaking, everything about it was astonishing.

The Waste Land: Thoughts

So going into today’s seminar, to be honest here.. I didn’t really have a good grasp at all on this poem. Not saying that my understanding of it is amazing or anything, but I mean, it definitely improved upon talking about it with all of you. Jon said that this would probably be the hardest not-philosophical text we would come across in this course— and I understand why. For starters, maybe I wasn’t really focused, but I found that it was hard to follow along with what the story of the poem. It seemed kind of scattered to me and really confusing. (In high school, analyzing poetry wasn’t really my forte, so doing this one was a bit of a task for me).  This was a read that I needed to take my time with on some lines (well, more than a few) and go over until I could finally comprehend it.

With Waste Land, asides finding it a bit of a more challenging read, I thought that the inputs of phrases in different languages made following the story that much harder. Lines like, “Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.” Thoroughly threw me off guard.. but I think that maybe Eliot added those in there to emphasize the language barriers. How perhaps we will never really be able to fully understand one another, or the difficulty in doing so, due to these cultural differences, or maybe he did it to emphasize his German roots? I don’t really know, so these are really all just thoughts going through my head. I also found that the poem didn’t follow a set rhythm or pattern of any sort. It was a bit scattered and varied, which I assume was to emphasize more parts in comparison to others, depending on the scenario.

What I can say, however, is that in spite of the challenge (which is something I feel like I placed emphasis on pretty well), when I finally did understand and manage to follow the story, I quite enjoyed it. I particularly found Part II. A Game Of Chess to be most interesting to me. How the woman was fixated on getting herself a set of false teeth as a means of pleasing her husband and ensuring that he doesn’t go looking for other women. I found this to be of interest to me, because of the story no doubt, but also because of the interruptions of the bartender. I liked how it didn’t follow an organized, usual structure of a poem, and thought that it was an alternative take and a refreshing twist to writing.

Anyways, overall, Eliot was better than I expected. Can’t wait to hear more thoughts!

Freud Response

Prior to reading Freud, I had no knowledge of him. Maybe that’s my fault for not being quite familiar with him or his writing styles, or his beliefs and what not.. but I didn’t know anything about him really. With that being said, I did however, find that his writing style wasn’t too difficult to read through. That he did bring up quite a few intriguing and interesting spins of particular topics. To be brutally honest here… I definitely expected some wordy, fancy, and elaborate essay of some sort, and the fact that this piece of writing actually appeared to be normal—made reading Freud less daunting.

In my opinion, Civilization and its Discontents was in my opinion, a pretty good read. I feel like I didn’t really “jive” well with the other philosophical texts that we have read thus far, (Arts One made me rethink my desire to potentially major in Philosophy…) but this one wasn’t too bad for me to handle. I found that one most predominant concept here in Freud’s essay, is repression to one’s self.  I found his opinions though perhaps a bit flawed or open to interpretation, were captivating to learn of.

“The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.”

In more depth, I found the way in which he described religion to be particularly fascinating to me. Having come from an immensely religious family, full of devote Catholics, and having gone to a Catholic school my entire life.. Freud’s views on the subject of religion, and its impact and importance to people immediately struck my interest.  Freud touches on the idea that religion, and the way we rely on it for different things—be it to blame when things do not go our way, or as something to hold onto and believe in; to confide in. In spite of coming from, as I said, a pretty religious family… my  brothers and I didn’t really adopt that same devoutness I guess you could say. We are religious, but not nearly to the same extent that my mom and my relatives are. Essentially what I’m saying, is that I am not practicing. However, (there’s a point to this.. I swear!) when Freud discusses religion, it hits home. A religion is there to have belief in something, as a means of comfort… when times get a bit difficult, one’s religion is their rock; their shelter. However, Freud states that religion, and belief in God, or a different religious figure as a mere fault of humanity; which is what screws us up as individuals. I don’t really take what philosophers say to heart, but all in all, I did find his arguments overall (in spite of their flaws) to be pretty solid.