I have chosen The Metamorphosis as my subject for this paper; I will take a close look at how the death of Gregor Samsa opens the doors to understanding the story. I will give examples of irony through Gregor’s metamorphosis and how this irony brings together the conclusion of the story. Through his death we see the truth behind his parents, which in it’s self is ironic. It is difficult to pinpoint one specific thing to write about in the story; there are just so many things that can be brought to light. If I happen to lose sight of my topic bear with me, there is just so much to be discussed in the novella.
Franz Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis, is a novella about Gregor Samsa, a man who devotes everything to fulfilling the needs of his family. Kafka’s existentialist perspective on the meaning of life is illustrated through the use of the protagonist of Gregor Samsa. Existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility (Existentialism). Gregor is unable to fulfill the existentialist view of finding meaning in one’s life; he acted according to what his family wanted. Kafka’s belief that there is no meaning to life and that the individual has to create his own meaning in life is entirely missed by Gregor. Kafka uses the juxtaposing mindsets of Gregor and his family
Kafka produces this theme of isolation in the book, possibly to make the book more relatable to readers and to himself. Kafka uses Gregor's character as a way to relate himself to the story and to showcase his feelings in the book. Kafka uses himself as a metaphor for Gregor and what he is going through based on his family past. Kafka’s relationships with his parents were toxic, unloving, and abusive. For example, his mother failed to support him and “lacked intellectual depth” in order to understand his feelings and his dreams/goals to become a writer. His father physically and mentally abused Kafka, which affected his life and his writing. Kafka produces elements in his writing that are in direct relation to his life. He felt isolated in his family or due to his family much like he writes Gregor to be. In the novella, Gregor's father steps on and throws harmful things at Gregor when he is a bug, “…for the father was dead set on boarding him. He had filled his pockets with fruit from the bowl on the side board…was hurling apple after apple. Those small red apples ricocheted around the floor as if galvanized, colliding with one another…Another one, however, promptly following it, actually dug right into his back. Gregor wanted to keep dragging
In the novella The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, the main character Gregor undergoes a physical transformation from human to bug. Despite this change in appearance, he maintains his human brain as insect tendencies slowly take over his day to day behavior. He maintains his thoughtless state of mind, memories, and inner dialogue during his exterior transformation. Although he maintains his mental capacities, it is his change in appearance that causes his family to turn against him and eventually kill him. These events show how people can become dehumanized by society and the government only because of a difference in behavior or appearance.
Everyone has people they depend on. People that he or she knows will always be there when they’re needed. But what happens when those people just don’t show up or just all of a sudden stop caring? The feeling of loneliness can break down a person’s character and reduce him to a shell, or in this case and exoskeleton, of who he once was. We can see this in The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. When Gregor Samsa finds himself transformed into a giant beetle-like creature, what he needs more than anything is the love and support of his family, but he disgusts them. They shut him up in his room so that no one can see him. They are ashamed of him, and quickly forget that he was part of their own flesh and blood. All that they can see is the monster that appears on the on the outside. Gregor’s sister and parents betray his love for them and leave him feeling lonely in the most terrifying and desperate time of his life.
Many views of existentialism are exposed in Kafka's Metamorphosis. One of these main views is alienation or estrangement which is demonstrated by Gregor's relationship with his family, his social life, and the way he lives his life after the metamorphosis. Namely, it suggests that man is reduced to an insect by the modern world and his family; human nature is completely self absorbed. Kafka reflects a belief that the more generous and selfless one is, the worse one is treated. This view is in direct conflict with the way things should be; man, specifically Gregor should be treated in accordance to his actions. Gregor should be greatly beloved by his family regardless of his state. This idea is displayed in three separate themes. First,
Growing up, Franz Kafka questioned his father’s use of power not only at home but also in the workplace. Kafka’s father referred to his employees as “paid enemies.” Upon noticing “the submissiveness expected of [workers] toward their superiors” in his own asbestos factory, Kafka found this true for not only his father but also most of the upper class (Speirs and Sandberg 7). Disappointed by this class hierarchy, Kafka attended anarchist meetings and referenced communist writers in his diaries (Cohn). These meetings led him to develop a similar ideology to Karl Marx, who attributed “all… [of] history [to] class struggles.” In The Metamorphosis, Kafka channels a Marxist viewpoint through Gregor Samsa’s life before his metamorphosis and his family’s life after the metamorphosis.
Kafka describes the tedious, murky and muggy environment that foreshadows the decomposition and fall of Gregor’s life. When Gregor opens his eyes, he finds himself changed into a grotesque vermin or an enormous insect, an insignificant creature. Gregor does not scream. He does not panic at least not until he worries about going to work, that a gigantic insect doesn’t need to bother showing up for work doesn’t cross his mind. It seems as though Gregor accepts his fate so willingly. With this striking opening, Kafka sets his mystifying psychological fantasy in motion. Kafka’s diaries and letters point out that he considered “Gregor’s fate no worse, or better, than that of any person.” The prior life of a traveling salesman vs. the one-room Gregor occupies, as an insect are both lives of solitude. Kafka wrote that “the cares we have to struggle with every day” are emotional anguish. Kafka lived a sad life. He was persistently haunted by the oppressive image of his father. This could be clearly seen in Gregor’s attempts to get out of the bed. But, since his door was locked, he would need to call for help, which he does not favor. This shows Kafka’s fear of his father. He would rather lay on the bed forever than call his father to help him. Kafka’s fear estimated here as Gregor’s fear
In the beginning of the novella, Gregor undergoes a transformation. Many readers view his transformation as he turns into a bug because of the way Kafka describes Gregor. Kafka may have been undergoing a transformation of his own. Kafka dealt with many issues growing up such as self doubt, issues with his father, and eventually, health issues. Like Kafka, Gregor deals with issues with his father and within himself and begins to feel less and less like himself as the novella continues. He awakes from his sleep to ask himself, “What’s happened to me (Kafka, 3)?” With the conflicts Gregor has with his family, especially his father, he begins to feel unwanted and unappreciated. Gregor also feels that he is becoming less sensitive when that used to be one of his main traits as a human (Kafka, 24). Seeing that Gregor is losing his sensitivity, that shows that he is truly losing himself since he is losing one of his main traits. Feeling less like himself, Gregor becomes more distant with his close
Throughout literary history, certain authors are so unique and fresh in their approach to the written word that they come to embody a genre. Franz Kafka is one such author; “Die Verwandlung” or “The Metamorphosis” is one of his works that helped coin the term “Kafkaesque.” Through this novella, Kafka addresses the timeless theme of people exploit-ing others as a means to an end. He demonstrates this point through showing that a family’s unhealthy dependence on the main character results in that character’s dependence on the family.
In the opening lines of German author Franz Kafkas’ short story narrative “The Metamorphosis”, the protagonist Gregor Samsa a disgruntled traveling salesman who lives with and supports his parents and little sister, awakens from a night of unpleasant dreams to find that he has been metamorphosed into a cockroach he calls a “monstrous vermin” (Kafka, page 89). This particularly strange opening sets the stage for in my opinion, a very strange and very vague play. I say this because throughout the whole story we never find out much less are given any clue of how or why he managed to be metamorphosed into this insect. Not to mention what the moral of the story is or the fact that this whole book reads like one big
Gregor’s transformation to a Vermin created a new life of separation and isolation for him. Before Gregor’s transformation he already felt isolated and stressed out because he was the only one working and he didn’t have that good of a relationship within his family. Kafka states “Constantly seeing new faces, no relationships that last or get more intimate.” Gregor is a traveling salesman who sees new people
In our interactive Oral we discussed about Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, through point of time and place matter, the relation to the society, the culture and experience and the technique in the work, I learned about the society oppressive expectation can lead an individual to loss in identity
Although his thoughts and emotions have remained human, his physical human characteristics have mostly disappeared. The next morning, after Grete slams the door on Gregor, he wonders whether she’d “notice that he had left the milk standing, and not for lack of hunger, and would she bring in some other kind of food more to his taste?” (107). Gregor wishes to be accepted by his family in his new form and hopes that Grete will directly display her sympathy, claiming that he would rather starve than have to ask her. Grete accepted Gregor the most out of his family members, yet as time went on and they started working, they moved on from Gregor and ignored his desire to be fed. It is clear that Gregor has become very sickened by his family’s lack of acceptance and “At
Kafka was critical in bringing the new outlook on modern culture and particularly on modern man. Franz Kafka studied the modern man in the face of contemporary culture, and how he was steadfast in retaining his spirituality and identity, and gravitate towards authenticity and happiness. However, Kafka saw how the dehumanizing forces of industrialization and capitalism in the post- the WWI Europe posed a challenge to the modern man. Modern culture can be viewed tolerating and open to all. To Franz Kafka, modern culture coupled with technology is fast changing, and man has to maintain his self-consciousness in order not lose his spirituality and identity amidst these changes (Wintle pp. 708-710). Hence, as modern culture changes with the changing technology, religions are poised to change too, which presents fears to a man about losing his spirituality and identity upon embracing the modern culture. Interestingly, Kafka was mystical in his writings, with a keen interest in themes such as metamorphosis, existential and identity. If we look at “The Metamorphosis,” we can view the idea of how the dehumanizing effects of capitalism and industrialism are indicated within the writings. Kafka contends we become dehumanized with buying power and working too much. The transformation of Gregor seems to indicate a denial of responsibility to the changing forms of society’s conventions and values.