I have chosen The Metamorphosis as my subject for this paper; I will take a close look at how the death of Gregor Samsa opens the doors to understanding the story. I will give examples of irony through Gregor’s metamorphosis and how this irony brings together the conclusion of the story. Through his death we see the truth behind his parents, which in it’s self is ironic. It is difficult to pinpoint one specific thing to write about in the story; there are just so many things that can be brought to light. If I happen to lose sight of my topic bear with me, there is just so much to be discussed in the novella.
“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.
In the article, written by Walter H. Sokel, he goes into depth about how Franz Kafka’s life is reflected in the book The Metamorphosis and his other writings. Sokel ties together multiple aspects of the novel and their importance to Gregor and his family dynamic as a whole. Many of the points made in the article address the absurdity of the situation the novel presents and the underlying meaning in the actions of the characters. The premise of the article is pointing to the facts that Gregor's predicament is Kafka inserting his own life frustrations into his literary works. In each passage of the article another part of Gregor's life is laid bare. Sokel’s many inferences that the fault is in Gregor's own doing and not his situation in life, create a complex maze of cause and effect.
Kafka’s Metamorphosis suggests to his readers to take a glimpse inside a dysfunctional atmosphere triggered from a painful childhood, to see how influential each member of the family contributes to the dynamics, but also to learn how to make light of the situation with acceptance. Kafka is reflecting on his own relationship with his family in Metamorphosis. He sees himself in Gregor, or is he him.
The deeper meaning of “The Metamorphosis”, by Frank Kafka, can be interpreted in many ways depending on critical theory is used to examine it. From a feminist criticism, one can observe how Gregor’s dominance as a male diminishes after he becomes a bug as his sister’s strength and role in the family grows stronger. From a biographical criticism, one can compare and contrast the traits of Gregor and the people around him with that of Kafka’s own life and his relationships. However, the focus of this essay will be applying a psychoanalytical criticism to the characters in “The Metamorphosis”, using the studies of Sigmund Freud to approach
People have a high amount of pressure on them in their daily lives with social, mental, and physical appearances. Kafka represents this pressure he has on himself through Gregor. This allows Kafka to vent many emotions and feelings through this novella Everyone is there own person but some take others opinions to heart to often and need to see things are not as bad as they seem. Throughout The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, Kafka displays himself through Gregor, and shows his true feelings about people and society he lives in.
On the surface, “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka is an evocative story of a man transformed into a “monstrous vermin”. It seems to focus on the dark transformation of the story’s protagonist, Gregor, but there is an equal and opposing transformation that happens within Gregor’s family. Although Gregor has physically changed at the beginning of the story, he remains relatively unchanged as the novella progresses. The family, on the other hand, is forced to drastically change how they support themselves. Although the change was unexpected, Gregor’s transformation into a vermin sets into motion a change in the Samsa family that leaves them better off in almost every facet of their lives. Thus, Kafka’s story is not one of descent into darkness, but one of a family’s ascent towards self-actualization. The metamorphosis the title speaks of does not take place in Gregor, but rather in the Samsa Family; consequently, Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” is not a tale of darkness, disconnection and despair, but rather a story of hope, new beginnings and perseverance.
Kafka’s timeless novella, The Metamorphosis, first shows, the physical and mental change of Gregor Samsa. As Gregor wakes up for work, he realizes that his body is not what it used to be. He has completely transformed into a giant beetle-like insect and he begins to notice his “hard... armor plated back… dome-like brown belly divided into stiff arch segments, [and] numerous legs… which waved helplessly before his eyes” (Kafka 6). Mentally, Gregor continues to think like a normal person. Even though he has just transformed into a nasty insect, his main concern is still about getting to work and supporting his entire family. This concern fades when he understands that his illness releases him from his job. Wilhelm Emrich also believes that Gregor gains freedom by stating that, “Samsa complains of his “grueling job,” of the “upset of doing business,” “worrying about changing trains, eating
In The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka tells the story of a young man named Gregor who observes the radical changes in his life after transforming into an insect. Gregor’s life was centered on his job as a traveling salesperson and his family. One morning Gregor woke up transformed into an insect. Afraid of the transformation Gregor stays in his room and ignores calls from his family. When Gregor realized that his new body did not allow him to have a normal life, he tried to adapt. After his metamorphosis, Gregor is abandoned by his family and only maintains a small relationship with his sister Grete, who is in charge of serving and provide him with food, but always leaving some distance because of his ugly appearance.
Additionally, Kafka’s relationships with his family members further demonstrate the devaluation and isolation present in his life. Concerning the novella, Straus writes, “the narration focuses on how Gregor invalidates his family, how his family invalidates and destroys Gregor.” (Nina Pelikan Straus) The story itself focuses on Gregor’s exile from his family by his family. Such exile reflects the invalidation of Kafka in his own and the destruction Kafka felt from his own family. Furthermore, Gregor’s father states that “if he could understand us, then maybe we could come to an agreement with him.” (Metamorphosis) Kafka’s own father was unable to come to terms with him and his experience is paralleled by Gregor and his
Waking up one morning as an insect is not a common occurrence. Although there are many different ways to interpret and describe The Metamorphosis, there is no doubt that the main character, Gregor Samsa, experiences prominent acts of betrayal after his strange alteration, both with others and within himself. Consequently, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis embodies various examples of betrayal through Gregor’s father abandoning him, Gregor giving up his life, and Grete losing her faith in Gregor’s human restoration.
Gregor’s role in his family characterizes him as an altruistic individual whose nature made him ignorant to his family’s manipulation. Gregor endures most of his hardships without complaint and puts the needs of his family firmly above his own. Upon realizing his transformation at the beginning of the novella, his first thoughts were not of alarm but of great concern about being late to work because it is his only means of taking care of his family (Kafka 6). After his father’s business failed, Gregor “work[ed] with special ardor” (27) doing laborious work as a traveling salesman, not only to “pay off [his] parents’ debt”(4), but to also spend what little money he has to give Grete the opportunity to perform violin professionally (26). With all these responsibilities, it’s inevitable for Gregor to be under great stress, which can infer that Gregor’s transformation is a result of his willful desire to escape the pressures his overburdened life. Gregor struggled between remaining a steadfast provider or following his desire for independence, however, his metamorphosis freed him from a job he detests. Now that it is impossible for Gregor to work, Mr.Samsa reveals that “he possessed more money than Gregor knew about” (#). This is a significant event where Kafka uses the motif of betrayal to emphasize the corruption in familial infrastructure represented through Gregor’s sacrifice and interaction with his family, as well as to socially comment about how people in society use
The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, is a book outlining the changes in opinions, and views over a period of time. Gregor wrote during a time when anti-Semitism was starting to become a popular way of mind, where people were influenced into changing their mind set, especially with him being a Jew. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor is seen as an outsider to many, but had support from his family, but not for long. Kafka’s portrayal of Gregor’s family’s opinions, especially his sister, in the Metamorphosis towards Gregor change as other influences and social norms become more frequent.
In Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” Gregor Samsa deals with the alienation from his family stemming from both absurd and mundane circumstances. While Gregor’s transformation into a bug is the catalyst to his physical alienation, Gregor had for years been becoming more and more isolated mentally and emotionally from his family due to his displeasure at his having to work a job he hated due to his father’s failings and the lack of gratitude he received from his family for his hard work. It was not just his family who Gregor was becoming isolated from, but it was humanity in general that Gregor had been drifting apart from, as he had not mentioned having any friends or work colleagues which leads the readers to believe he had no social life
Franz Kafka, in his novel The Metamorphosis, explores two conflicting ideas through his protagonist Gregor: unity and isolation. Gregor’s transformation created a whole life of distress for him, but on the other hand also formed a deeper and better relationship for the rest of the family.