Isolation and Alienation in the Metamorphosis

1524 Words Mar 3rd, 2013 7 Pages
Language A: Literature
The Written Assignment

Alienation and Isolation in The Metamorphosis

May 2013
Word Count: 1480

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a reflection on how alienation and isolation begin and develop in a society by employing the characters in his novella as a representation of society as a whole. Using Gregor’s manager to demonstrate the initiation of isolation and alienation of a person, Gregor as the person being isolated and the inhabitants of the Samsa household as the other members of society, Kafka creates an effective model to represent the hierarchically structured effect of isolationism and alienation in society on a larger scale. Kafka uses the company Gregor is forced to work for to illustrate the
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Grete undergoes a change in perspective to such a degree that by the end of the novella it is she who declares, “we must get rid of it” (84). This change in perspective shows how Kafka believes that members of society often stop sympathizing with the isolated group when it becomes inconvenient for them to continue doing so. Gregor’s mother reacts in an initial manner somewhere between the father and sister since when first seeing him she “went two steps toward Gregor and collapsed right in the middle of her skirts” (23). These conflicting desires continue through the novella, such as when Mr. Samsa tries to kill Gregor, “she begged him to spare Gregor’s life” (65) but at the same time she is repulsed by him. This illustrates how she wants to help him and tries to think of him the same way she did before his transformation, yet is unable to. This resembles the idealists in society who theoretically support the alienated person but often succumb to social pressures when they are forced to face the problem. These three reactions to Gregor’s transformation as a result of the initiation of his isolation by the manager demonstrate the spectrum of reactions. From the immediate acceptance of the hierarchy represented by Mr. Samsa, to the true compassion of Grete and the idealism of Mrs. Samsa, Kafka shows how a wide variety of reactions is expected from society, and how people often change their opinions. Similarly to how social pressures
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