The Metamorphosis 2/16/11

“The Metamorphosis” is a short story that relates well to Yi-Fu Tuan’s concept of spacious and crowding. In Franz Kafka’s story a young traveling salesman by the name of Gregor wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect (unless of course he was always a bug and just forgot about it). His grotesque form puts his family and boss in a state of shock and fear which is somewhat understandable as he is probably a very large insect. They seem to know it’s him but lock him in his room where they wouldn’t have to deal with him anyway. Gregor then spends his days in the confines of his room never to be let out.
The only encounters Gregor has are when his sister routinely enters his room to clean it and give him food. Even though she knows that he is probably harmless she still runs away at the sight of him so for her comfort Gregor takes to concealing himself under his couch. The space beneath the couch is a little cramped but it’s comfortable for him, probably due to his insect like form. Though Gregor seemed to like his space under the couch, he much preferred being able to walk about his room. He found pleasure in climbing on the ceiling and having breathing room, it was the most comfortable area for him as he explored the mechanics of his new body.
Eventually, Gregor made his way out of the room due to some circumstances and this put the family in a state of anger and fear where they tried attacking Gregor and sending him back into his room. Though he did nothing to truly aggravate his family they still loathed him and forced him back into his room. After this point the care he received diminished almost completely. His room soon became a storage place where any junk was thrown into it. This hindered Gregor from walking about which he so much loved. The room became crowded and even though he liked being hidden he still suffered in the room in its current state.
Sometimes people like being in confined, cozy areas but only if that space remains the same. Once changes are made and the environment become different people begin to suffer. As Yi-Fu Tuan said in his chapter on crowding and spaciousness; “a person who lives in a remote area will feel overwhelmed if they come to a populated city because of the large increase in people. A person who lives in a city will feel frightened by large open areas with next to nothing around. It’s all a matter of perception and what you’re used to. When the norms of your surroundings change your mind can’t take it and you end up feeling ill.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A & P 2/9/11

John Updike’s short story “A & P” tells a hometown tale about a young fellow working in an A & P grocery store and a small encounter he had with three young ladies and their presence in the store. In the story, the three young ladies entered the A & P store wearing swimsuits, something you wouldn’t normally see someone wearing on their trip to purchase a few homely needs. Of course to the male workers as well as other people in the store these ladies are quite eye catching. No doubt they were wearing the wrong apparel for the place they were in. Eventually, the uptight store manager notices these young ladies as they were paying for their items and gave them an embarrassing lecture about how their clothing was inappropriate and that they shouldn’t ever wear swimsuits to his store again. The main character, being a worker there doesn’t take well to the manager’s behavior and quits his job right after.
Updike shows the concept of space and place when the girls first entered the store. They were very out of place wearing swimsuits in the store but outside of the store it was summer, they would have fit in just fine at the beach or outside. We see the concept of place defining what is acceptable and what isn’t and how it can dictate the decisions people make as well as their actions. Another example of this was when Sammy from the story quit his job. He had lost his place in the store as well as society. He had no job now and put himself in the pits. He even said how he could “feel how hard the world was going to be to [him] from hereafter. This shows how he lost his place and now he’d have to find a new one. The story shows how people can control places and places can control people and as always it’s a matter of perspective.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments