Final Paper

Brian Finnerty                                                              

English 162W                                                                                             
Prof. Zino


Paper #3: My Hall of Fame, My Cave, My Room


       Every day one
experiences many different literal places that they encounter. These


places can be anywhere from a school to an airport. When one
moves, one takes up


different places and spaces. The one place that I encounter
every day is my room. It is the


place I feel most safe in and it is also the place where I
spend most of my time in. The


spaciousness inside my room allows me to be free both
physically and mentally. In


many literary pieces one’s room plays an important role in
the theme of the story. This is


why authors like Franz Kafka, Doris Lessing  and Charlotte Perkins Gilman use places


like the room to create their story.


       There were many
literal places that I could have chosen to create my argument for


why authors choose places to address their story. However, I
felt that the setting of a


room, like a bedroom, would be the best choice to help my
argument. I feel that many


authors use rooms as the main setting for their stories
because it helps their main


character develop throughout the story. In Kafka’s “The
Metamorphosis”, the bedroom of


the main character Gregor Samsa played the most important
role in Samsa’s


transformation. Due to his transformation he spent all of
his time in that one room and


therefore Kafka had to use Samsa’s bedroom as the main topic
of his story. In Gilman’s


“The Yellow Wallpaper”, the bedroom of the narrator played
an important role in her


mental breakdown due to the wallpaper that was on her walls.
In Lessing’s “To Room


Nineteen”, two bedrooms were shown in the story. The one
bedroom symbolized


imprisonment while the other symbolized freedom and



       I choose my
room as the place that I feel would be an exact space to explore for  


authors like Kafka, Lessing and Gilman. In a sort of way my
room resembles the way


Samsa’s room was set up in “The Metamorphosis”. My room like
Samsa’s has a bed, a


desk to write and study on, and a window. Like Samsa, I also
have an alarm clock to


wake me up to go to school and work. Unlike Samsa’s room
however, I have many


pictures and posters on my wall that help make my room more
colorful. Also unlike


Samsa I do not live alone in my room. My brother and I share
our bedroom. Besides


some differences in the size and color of our rooms, Samsa’s
and my room are very


similar and therefore I feel that my room would be a perfect
space to explore for Kafka.


       The room in
“The Yellow Wallpaper” also resembles my room but not as much as


the room in “The Metamorphosis” does. The narrator’s room in
“The Yellow Wallpaper”,


is surrounded by an “unclean yellow” wallpaper (Gilman 438).
Like the room of mine


and Samsa’s the narrator’s room has a window. From the way
the narrator describes her


room it seems that the room is more beaten up and unkempt
than my room. The


difference between the room of the narrator’s and mine is
that she did not feel


comfortable and safe in her room.


       The hotel room
in “Too Room Nineteen”, also looks familiar in a sort of way when


compared to my room. Even though the “room was hideous”
(Lessing 541) it had a


window like my room and a chest of drawers to put clothes
in. The room like any


bedroom had a bed and a chair to sit in. Even though the
room was small and nothing


compared to her big house in Richmond she felt comfortable in this room.
She also felt


free and unchained from the daily problems that faced her
back at the house.


       To become more
familiar with my place I wanted to know the history of my room.


I asked my parents when we bought our house and when did I
move into my room. I


found out that my parents bought our house in Whitestone, Queens  in 1990 a
year before


I was born. After a couple of weeks in my parent’s room I
was finally brought into my


room which had a crib in it. As I transformed so did the
room and its size. As I became


older the crib disappeared and was replaced by a bed. At the
time the bed seemed like a


big boat because I was so little. When I became older the
size of my room became


smaller. The older I got the more freedom I received also.
As a baby my space was


constricted but once the crib went so did my constricted
space. My bedroom however has


never really changed since I have been living and sleeping
there for over 19 years.


       My bedroom is
characterized by my love for baseball and the New York Mets.


Throughout the whole room there are baseballs, baseball
posters and many baseball


figurines that my brother and I have. My love for baseball came
from my dad and


throughout my time spent in my room he has helped me get
many of these baseball


souvenirs. Because the walls in my room were painted white I
put up many of these


baseball posters to make the room more appealing and
colorful. When I walk in to my


room I feel a sense of happiness when I look at my
collection of baseball related items. I


like to look at my room as my own Hall of Fame because of
the amount of balls and bats


I have received from attending over 15 games a season throughout
the years with my dad.


My room serves as a reminder of the relationship that my dad
and I share and the love for


baseball we have. My room also brings up many baseball talks
between my brother and I


which also strengthens our baseball knowledge and love for
the game.


       My room means a
lot to me because it is the place where I have slept, studied, and


walked around in for over 19 years. It is the place where I
spend most of my time in my


house. It is the place where I go to sleep and have my
wildest dreams. My room is also


where most of the conversations I have had with my brother
occurred in. It is the place


where we talk about our day and our fears with each other. Without
the room my whole


childhood would be erased because there are so many memories
that have occurred inside


that door. My room serves as a vault for those memories and
when I move out from my


parent’s house I can go back to this room to rekindle these
memories. My room and how


I feel can in someway compare to the way the narrator felt
about her room in “The


Yellow Wallpaper”. In some parts of my room there are New
York Football Giant posters


that my brother has hanging up on his wall. Just like the
narrator that side of the wall


makes me sick. I want to rip down the posters just like the
narrator ripped down the


wallpaper but I know the posters have sentimental meaning to
my brother so I don’t.


       Inside the
actual place, the bedroom, there are many spaces that I have used over the


years. Just like Gregor Samsa I used these spaces inside my
bedroom to my advantage. I


used spaces like the space underneath my bed as hiding spots
to hide from my brother


and sister while playing hide and go seek. I also used the
space underneath my bed as a


child to hide from the scary noises such as loud
thunderstorms. I used the space on


my desk to write my school papers and to study for exams.
The space under my covers


also served as a protective cover for me from the outside
world. These spaces became a


part of me and helped me if I were ever afraid. Just like
Samsa I would hide under my


bed if I felt afraid. The bedroom spaces also allowed for
games to be played and new


adventures to be held. As I became older however these
spaces eventually disappeared. I


could not fit underneath my bed anymore because it was too
small of a space and I


outgrew the games that my brother and I used to play. I also
outgrew my fears of the


sounds of thunderstorms. Even though these spaces are now
gone they will always be a


part of me because they helped me conquer my childhood


       In the short
story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman the narrator


has had a mental breakdown. Like Samsa she is a prisoner in
her own room because the


yellow wallpaper makes her feel uncomfortable. She
eventually rips the wallpaper down


because the wallpaper is too much for her to handle anymore.
The short story can relate


to Tuan’s chapter “Time in Experiential Space” because in
this chapter we see a


connection between time and distance. Tuan states “The
greater the distance the greater


the lapse of time” (Tuan 121). “When we stand before a
prospect, our mind is free to


roam”. “As we move mentally out to space, we also move
either backward or forward in


time”(Tuan 125). By these statements Tuan wants us to see
that the more time we look at


a particular object the further we will travel mentally in
space. The more time the narrator


spent looking at the yellow wallpaper the more she thought
about it and the more she


wanted to rip it down. When I look at my baseball collection
of bats and balls the further


I travel back in time where my dad and I used to attend
games at the old Shea Stadium.


       In Kafka’s
short story “The Metamorphosis”, the main character of Gregor Samsa


goes through a transformation. He has been transformed from
an ordinary salesman to a


giant insect. Throughout the whole story Samsa struggles
with his new transformation


and his relationship with his parents and sister. To adjust
to his new transformation he


uses the spaces inside his room to his advantage. These
spaces such as the space


underneath his bed and the walls that he would climb on
would help him hide from his


parents. Samsa’s way of using space and how much freedom he
had can relate to the way


I used my space and the freedom I had while I was a baby in
my room.


       The short story
“To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing is about a mother, Susan


Rawlings, who does everything for her four children and
husband but becomes


overwhelmed with stress and distances herself from the
family. She believes she is a


prisoner in the big white house in Richmond. She has no freedom because she has
to take


care of her children and deal with a cheating spouse. To
relieve herself from the stress


she starts going to hotel rooms to be alone. The hotel rooms
provide freedom for her


something she never had at the big white house. “The room
was ordinary and


anonymous, and was just what Susan needed” (Lessing 536).
Susan wasn’t looking for a


fancy place to stay in. She just wanted a place to free her
mind in and a one beaten down


room at a hotel did just the thing for her.


       In Tuan’s Space and Place: The Perspective of
, one chapter which shows


why my space is a compelling space to explore for an author
like Fafka is the chapter


titled “Spaciousness and Crowding”. In this chapter Tuan
relates the amount of freedom


one has to the amount of space one inhabits. Tuan states
that “an infant is unfree, and so


are prisoners and the bedridden”(Tuan 52). This statement by
Tuan can relate to the


freedom that I had as a baby inside my crib and the freedom
that Gregor Samsa had as a


prisoner in his own household. Both a baby and a prisoner do
not take up a lot of spaces


and therefore they have little or no freedom.


Tuan’s chapters he talks about a sense of attachment to something or


someone. In the chapter “Attachment to Homeland”, Tuan
states that “Attachment to the


homeland is a common human emotion”(Tuan 158). “The more
ties there are, the


stronger is the emotional bond”(Tuan 158). The more time we
spend in a particular place


the greater the attachment to that particular place will be.
When that place is taken away


from us or we move away from that place we have a sense of
sorrow and grief because


that place means so much to us. This chapter and Tuan’s
statements can relate to both the


attachment to mine and Gregor’s rooms. When I am away from
my room and sleeping


somewhere else such as a hotel I become uncomfortable and
have a hard time falling


asleep. Nothing compares to my bed and the sense of freedom
and safety that I get when I


am inside my room. The statements by Tuan can also relate to
the way that Gregor Samsa


felt about his furniture in his room. After his
transformation occurred all what Samsa had


was his bed and desk. He would use the bed and desk to his
advantage because he would


hide from his parents. When one day the family decided to
take away his furniture Gregor


became even more depressed because he felt that they were
taking away stuff that he had


as a child. Gregor’s attachment to the furniture was so
great that when the family tried


taking it away from him he used every ounce of strength in his
weak body to prevent




statements in his chapter “Attachment to Homeland”, do not however


compare to the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” and how
the narrator felt about the


setting of her room. Throughout the short story the narrator
confesses her hatred towards


the yellow wallpaper. “The color is hideous enough, and
unreliable enough, and


infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing” (Gilman
442). She hated the wallpaper


because it got in her head. It was all what she could think
of and because of this it


eventually led her to rip it down during one of her mental
breakdowns. The statements by


Tuan also do not compare to the short story “To Room Nineteen”
because the main


character felt like a prisoner at her “homeland”. She felt
like a prisoner at her home in


because of the responsibilities she had. The big house and the large amounts


of money she had did nothing for her. She wanted to be free
and alone and the only way


she could have these two were to set herself apart from the
family. She hated her room at


the big house because she knew she was sleeping with the man
who cheated on her after


ten years of being together. To her the room where she spent
the remaining year of her


life, Room 19, was where she felt most happy.


       The chapter
titled “Experiential Perspective” is another chapter by Tuan that helps us


relate both “The Yellow Wallpaper”, “To Room Nineteen” and
“The Metamorphosis”


together. In this chapter the readers learn how “place is a
type of object” and how “places


and objects define space” (Tuan 17). By this statement Tuan
is saying that the way one


looks at an object defines space. When we look at an object
for just a moment we paint


an image of a place. These statements by Tuan can relate to
my room and how I look at it


as a place. The spaces that are in my bedroom make it a
place. Without the bed, desk and


baseball related items the room would not be called “my
bedroom”. By reading Tuan’s


chapter and the three short stories we learn that spaces
create places. Without the spaces


in Gregor Samsa’s room, which is considered a place, Samsa
would have never been able


to hide from his family. These spaces made Gregor’s transformation
more comfortable. I


believe that without the spaces inside hotel room 19 there
would be no “Fred’s Hotel”.


From Tuan’s chapter we learn that spaces make the name for a
particular type of place.


       In all three
short stories the common theme that the authors address is the feeling of


captivity. To show this feeling of captivity that the main
characters have in the stories the


authors use the setting of a room. The room, more
specifically the bedroom, in a sort of


way is built like a jail cell. With four walls and a door
locking us in from the outside


world, a bedroom resembles a jail cell very much. In the
short stories that I read all three


authors show how freedom and captivity, whether mentally or
physically, are associated


with “the room”. In “The Metamorphosis” Kafka uses the room
of Gregor Samsa to show


how his recent transformation has made him into a prisoner
in the Samsa household.


Because Samsa can barley move he can not take up space and
therefore according to


Tuan he has little freedom. After the transformation
occurred Samsa is subjected to one


room in the household just like a prisoner is subjected to
his cell after he commits a


crime. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Gilman the main
character and narrator is trapped


in captivity both physically and mentally. She is forced to
move into a summer house to


cure her problems but being put inside a room where the only
thing on her mind is her


hatred for the wallpaper only makes her worse. The room and
the wallpaper show the


readers how mentally unstable she really is. In Lessing’s
short story, “To Room


Nineteen”, two rooms show the common themes of imprisonment
and freedom. In the


room that she lives in at the big white house in Richmond she feels like a


because of the duties that she has as a mother of four
children. The room at the hotel


symbolizes her freedom and uncaring attitude. By using the
room as the main setting in


their stories one can clearly see how freedom and captivity
are expressed in the stories.


       My room is a
compelling space to explore for authors like Kafka, Lessing and


Gilman because I believe my room is characterized in some
way like the rooms that were


discussed in the stories. My room is so similar to the rooms
of Samsa, the narrator’s and


Rawling’s that I feel the authors would be able to explore
the space in my room in great


detail. With my room comes along many stories, customs and
traditions. If an author


would to explore my room he or she would have to spend in
great detail talking


about these traditions and what they mean to my room.


       From the three
short stories and Tuan’s chapters in his book Space and Place: The


Perspective of
we as readers see a connection between the amount of space

one has to one’s freedom. In many short stories the author
uses the setting of a room to


address the main theme in the story. The main theme in each
of the three stories that I


read is the feeling of being free or being in captivity. The
room was the main focal point


for each of the stories and throughout the stories the
“room” helped us see the captivity of


the main characters and how far they will go to be free.
Free from embarrassment, free


from mental illness and free from stress were all shown in
the short stories. I believe


space and place played a great deal in finding out how much
freedom these main


characters really had, which was slim to none. By looking at
one’s space and place I


could easily relate the setting of my room to the setting of
the rooms that were shown in


the stories and I could also see why I call my room my Hall
of Fame.







































Works Cited



Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper” An Introduction to Fiction. eds
X.J.     Kennedy & Dana Gioia



Kafka, Franz. “The Metamorphosis” An Introduction to Fiction.eds X.J. Kennedy &

Dana Gioia.



Lessing, Doris. “To Room Nineteen”. New York. 2000. Print.



Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience.
Minnesota: The University of Minnesota Press, 1977.



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