Although work is immediately presented as the exterior factor pushing Gregor into the system, the majority of the book is characterized by Gregor’s relationship with his family-- and their individual role in forcing Gregor to stay within the norms of society. Even in the context of Gregor’s employment, his work itself can be seen as an extension of his familial pressure to operate within his societal role. The necessity of money, and it’s direct relation to his family was described
“The Metamorphosis” is a surreal story by Franz Kafka surrounding the transformation and betrayal of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one day, reborn into a large insect. Along with the bizarre and nightmarish appearance of his new hard back, brown segmented belly, and many legs, Gregor only desire is to live a normal life, unfortunately, this is impossible because he struggles to even get out of bed. Gregor transformation into an insect is a vivid metaphor for the alienation of humans from around the world. After losing human form, Gregor is automatically deprived of the right to be a part of society. Franz Kafka could relate to Gregor because he too was mistreated/neglected by his father and worked a job that he was unhappy doing. Franz and Gregor both were providers for their families. Alienation, isolation, and loneliness were not hard to recognize during the Modernity and Modernism time period.
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.
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.
Franz Kafka’s twentieth-century classic, The Metamorphosis, shows the changes of the Samsa family after their son, Gregor, turns into a vile insect. Even though Gregor has turned into the most disgusting of creatures, this “metamorphosis” is ironic compared to the transformation that his family endures. While Gregor still sustains his humanity, the lack of any compassion and mercy from his family, is what makes them the disgusting creatures rather than Gregor. The changes of Gregor’s father, mother, and sister prove that the theme of metamorphosis is not exclusively present within Gregor.
Gregor reflects on how strenuous his career is. He strongly dislikes almost every aspect of his job: travelling all the time, worrying about the train
Because Gregor’s job merely serves as a means to an end, he represents the proletariats who bear the burden of the bourgeoisie. Although Gregor “would have given notice long ago” if not for his parents, he must continue working to pay off their debt (Kafka 946). Once he earns enough money to fully pay off his parents’ debt, Gregor “[wi]ll definitely [quit]” (Kafka 946). This affects Gregor not only materially but also emotionally, as he fails to build any relationships. Therefore, Gregor’s need to support his parents inhibits many aspects of his life. Similarly, Marx writes that, due to exploitation of production from the bourgeoisie, “proletariats have nothing to lose but their chains.” Connecting the means of production to the proletariats, Friedrich Engels, Marx’s editor, explains that “human power may be exchanged and utilized by converting man into a slave” (Straus). Through this exchange, the worker not only loses his autonomy but also becomes subservient to the bourgeoisie. Because Gregor experiences this phenomenon, many find the book’s setting “as more plausible in a petit bourgeois[ie] family than in any other setting” (Stach 202).
In Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, Gregor’s life dramatically changes with the event of his transformation to a bug. His family is not in full acceptance of what has become of him and Gregor begins to lose himself. He had once been the provider for his family and now it is as if his family reproaches him for his inability to take care of them. Gregor wants to again have a role in his family yet recognizes that his family would be better off without him and dies. There are several situations that Gregor experiences that makes him lose all hope. From Maslow’s hierarchy of needs it can be be seen that Gregor loses his humanity including the essential needs to humans such as his safety, his desire to be successful, and his desire for affection from others. The desire to feel love from his family and their rejection is the final event that leads to his depression and at the end to his death.
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
Franz Kafka's novella Metamorphosis directly correlates to Marx’s criticism of human society. Marxism views literary works as a social institution bases on where they originate. The novella opens with the transformation of Gregor into a vermin. Although the transformation may seem absurd, it directly parallels to his actually representation in society. Marxism emphasized that society separates the rich and poor, rendering the working class constantly trying to meet the standards of a capitalist society. The novella delinates the ideas of Marxism through his relationship with the bourgeoisie, his responsibility to his family, and his isolation from society.
Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (1915) is a novella about protagonist Gregor, a hard-working traveling salesman transforms into some a vermin overnight and struggles to adjust to his startling change. Kafka characterizes Gregor as a selfless individual whose profound love for his family misleads him about their genuine disposition. As he adjusts to his new change, he undergoes great difficulty to determine his identity and humanity. Gregor has deceived himself into believing that his family will love him despite his repulsive appearance. In The Metamorphosis, Kafka uses characterization and third-person narrative to demonstrate Gregor’s self-deception and self-awareness regarding his family and circumstances to establish the theme of identity.
Throughout the novella, Gregor’s deeply rooted sense of guilt transitions from having the power to drive his actions to merely plaguing his thoughts. Immediately after his transformation, Gregor reveals that he has to “deal with the problems of traveling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary and constantly changing human relationships…” (Kafka 4), in his daily work. Although he appears to hate his job, Gregor does not quit, as he has both intrinsic motivation to provide and extrinsic pressure from his family to keep them afloat. Rather than reflecting on his feelings and emotional baggage attached to his job, Gregor focuses on grievances set in reality, and allows this to occupy his conscious mind. After Gregor’s transformation, his
Also, in his writings, Kafka pointed out the dehumanizing forces of industrialization and capitalism in post-WWI Europe. Kafka saw bureaucracy establishments as being something that deprives the mere existence of real human standards of industrialization that will oppress a person in a workplace. “Work like this is far more unsettling than business conducted at home, and then I have the agony of traveling itself to contend with” worrying about train connections, the irregular, unpalatable meals, and human intercourse that is constantly changing, never developing the least constancy or warmth” (Puchner, P1881). Before the protagonist Gregor’s transformation, he views his life as a working insect being trapped in a society where alienation and decay are rampant because the workers are not happy. Gregor is stuck in prison
1. Gregor’s initial reaction to his transformation, more specifically his worrying about missing the train and dwelling on the hardships of his job, reveals the extent to which Gregor’s own self-identity and way of life is dependent on his work. While most people would probably be horrified to find themselves transformed into a bug, Gregor instantly thinks of his job because that is what comprises Gregor’s identify and without his job he has no purpose or worth in his society. As Gregor contemplates his future, he thinks to himself, “Well, there’s still some hope; once I’ve got the money together to pay off my parents’ debt to him [his boss] – another five or six years I suppose – that’s definitely what I’ll do. That’s when I’ll make the big change” (Kafka 8).
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.