The Dehumanizing Effect of Alienation and the Restoration of Self Identity in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis
788 WordsFeb 2, 20183 Pages
In the novella “The Metamorphosis”, Franz Kafka focuses on the topic of alienation and considers its underlying effect on self identity. The alienation Kafka promotes is propagated towards the main character Gregor Samsa, who inevitably transforms into a giant cockroach. The alienation by family relations affects him to the extent that he prioritizes his extensive need to be the family’s provider before his own well-being. This overwhelming need to provide inevitably diminishes Gregor’s ability to be humanlike. Kafka also enforces the idea of the ability to resurrect one’s self identity following psychologically demanding events. In this essay, I conceptualize Gregor Samsa’s “metamorphosis” as being instrumental in order to address the dehumanizing effect of various forms of alienation and the restoration of self identity (Kafka 116). The “metamorphosis” acts as a metaphor to express the inhumane change of state that occurs to a victim of alienation; and also formulates Gregor’s epiphany to suggest a possibility of one’s ability to restore a sense of self recognition. Gregor suffers through three forms of alienation: exploitation, violence, and neglect. The combined presence of these three external forces deprives Gregor of a human distinctiveness, but in turn, influences a final realization that enforces the resurrection of his self identity, and therefore human identity.
Prior to his metamorphosis, Gregor already resembles a working cockroach, living an automated life