Exploring Alienation and Conformity in the Metamorphosis

2043 Words Dec 4th, 2007 9 Pages
In The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka conveys the series of emotional and psychological repercussions of a physical transformation that befalls the protagonist, a young salesman called Gregor Samsa. As the story progresses, Gregor finds himself unfairly stigmatized, cruelly rejected because of his clear inability to financially support his family, and consequently increasingly isolated. Through extensive use of symbolism, Kafka is able to relate the surreal and absurd, seemingly arbitrary events of this short story to a general critique of society-particularly on the alienating effects that conformity generates. On a broader level, the combined themes-which include the themes of conformity, freedom, and alienation--found throughout The …show more content…
As a young child, he was a lone Jew attending a German school-which no doubt forced him to learn the "value" of conformity from an early age. As for Gregor, his family refuses to associate with him any longer and casually discards him because he is useless and perceived as different; i.e., dangerous. As such, the family finds this nonconformity almost threatening to their existence. A particularly pivotal and heartbreaking moment in Gregor's life occurs when his own beloved sister is asha! med of Gregor: Things cannot go on any longer in this way...I say only that we must try to get rid of it. We have tried what is humanly possible to take care of it and to be patient...I believe that no one can criticize us in the slightest...it is killing you both. I see it coming. When people have to work as hard as we all do, they cannot also tolerate Cheng 4 this endless torment at home. I just can't go on any more...this animal plagues us. It drives away the lodgers, will obviously take over the entire apartment, and leave us to spend the night in the lane. (Kafka) Basically, Grete is willing to kill her own blood relation purely based upon his unusual, repulsive appearance. However, despite the constant threat of extermination, his thoughts remain surprisingly selfless; he "did not have any notion of wishing to create problems for anyone and certainly not for his sister...he felt a great pride that he had been able to provide such a life in a
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