Symbolism In The Metamorphosis

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With the line between delusion and reality made ambiguous, it is of utmost importance that well-defined symbols be used to make sense of the twisted reality. Franz Kafka, the author of
The Metamorphosis uses symbolism to further solidify his three major themes: isolation, alienation, and the ongoing transformation in Gregor.
Throughout the novel, isolation is an important theme which Kafka uses symbolism extensively to add depth to the theme. For example, the main character’s name “Gregor Samsa” is a cryptogram for “Franz Kafka,” and phonetic contractions of Czech words “s ́am” (“alone”) and
“jsem” (“I am”), literally, “I am alone” [3]. By including this in Gregor’s name, Kafka made isolation an integral part of who Gregor is. Because of the extra
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Coupled with Gregor’s condition, it strengthens the theme by adding substance and further justifying Gregor’s feelings of alienation.
Whereas, without the symbol, Kafka has no means to introduce the theme of alienation, let alone expand on it. To further expand on the motif, Kafka uses Gregor’s father’s cane as a tool to describe to isolation between the family and Gregor in the passage where “the door was slammed shut with the cane” (19). Behind this passage, it holds a critical shift in the story, foreshadowing the beginning of Gregor’s alienation and isolation. The cane is seen as a device that distances
Gregor from the rest of the family, creating a thin link between them. Consequentially, it is severed by the door being slammed shut signifying that Gregor is repressed from the family, as if placing him in the closet and forgetting about him like an obsolete tool. Unable to escape, the door represents the loss of communication with the family, creating a barrier between Gregor and the family, establishing the transformation of Gregor into feral, animalistic
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