The Themes Of Alienation In The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka

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Feelings of detachment and isolation are universal - a common sentiment felt by most humans, including the author of this novella, Franz Kafka. Raised in an atmosphere of social rejection for being part of Prague’s Jewish minority and family related tensions, Kafka lived the same isolating life as Gregor Samsa. From being the son of an emotionally and physically abusive and overbearing father to feeling inadequate, The Metamorphosis can be seen as a novella reflecting the alienation of two men, Franz Kafka and Gregor Samsa. In the novella, “The Metamorphosis” Kafka dehumanizes the main protagonist, Gregor Samsa, through his use of extended metaphor, setting, and symbols to emphasize the theme of alienation.

At the introduction of the novel,
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As a human, Gregor is regarded like an insignificant insect as his family forcefully demands he support them with an unpleasant, overbearing job that dehumanizes him. Rather than being a respected adult with self-dignity, due to these circumstances, Gregor is a submissive machine, expected to obey orders meaninglessly and undergo labour for others without any complaints. Although Gregor’s family act grateful for his diligent work and never ending support, there is “no special outpouring of warm feeling” implying his family only acknowledges his existence as long as he completes his purpose they desire from him. When Gregor is turned into a legitimate insect, Gregor's family realizes they have lost their only financial support. Due to this, they instantly treat him with repulsion, viewing him as a worthless bug like they always have and dehumanize him by forcing him into seclusion. By transforming Gregor into a literal insect, Kafka reveals how his human existence is viewed by his family, further alienating him. Kafka also implies that Gregor’s metamorphosis into a bug is a clear metaphor for personal self-realization - the way in which Gregor identifies himself, perhaps he sees
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