Thirdly, he suffers isolation from the physical world, which he is no longer able to participate in due to his presence and lack of mobility. Lastly, he suffers isolation from other people around him, especially his family. By the end even his sister, Grete, the most compassionate member of the family, explanations that they should stop thoughtful of the creature as the person they knew. She says that “the fact that we’ve believed it so long is the root of our trouble” (Kafka 48), which can be taken to mean that at some point Gregor stopped being a person not only because of his entrance but since of his non-conformist actions. The beating he receives from his father shows the extent of the cruelty he endures, though his father knows that “family duty compulsory the conquest of disgust and the use of endurance, nothing but patience” (Kafka 36). The tragedy is that this alienation ends up killing Gregor, who “dies not as a vermin, but as a human being thinking of his family”. The transformation is an indication of the breakdown of Gregor’s psyche and alienation within his self. The reader is not told how the transformation
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.
Gregor maintains submissive personality and does not defend himself. Gregor’s physical change into a bug is the only aspect of him that changes. Gregor continuously allows himself to be abused. Upon Gregor’s transformation, he is unable to go to work. Therefore, the chief clerk visits Gregor to force him to come to work. Gregor remained locked in his room and would not leave for work. So, the clerk became extremely impatient. The frustrated clerk divulges into a cruel and demoralizing speech. He maliciously accuses Gregor of hiding because of unethical involvement in cash receipts. Later, Gregor’s family and the clerk become restless and want to see Gregor. The door to Gregor’s room is unlocked to open and reveal Gregor in his insect form. Gregor’s family and the clerk react with horror. The clerk and Gregor’s mother run away from him in fear. Gregor’s father grabs a stick and a newspaper and dashes toward Gregor, herding Gregor back into his bedroom with prods and fierce language. Gregor injures himself badly while trying to fit back through the doorway. Gregor’s door is slammed shut behind him and he his left alone, frightened and injured, in his room. The events subsequent to Gregor’s transformation exhibit his passive nature. Clearly such passivity was not useful to Gregor.
He supported his mother, father and Grete. Now that he cannot work, his family is desperate for money. The father decides to go back to work to bring home money. To make some more money on the side, they rent their apartment out to three lodgers. One night while the lodgers were there, Gregor was seen, which made the lodgers freak out and leave. This marks a turning point in how Grete feels about Gregor. She comes to realize that he has no humanity left. The reader sees this when Grete explains to her father, “It has to go,’ cried his sister. ‘That’s the only answer, Father. You just have to try to get rid of the idea that it’s Gregor. Believing it for so long, that is our real misfortune” (Kafka 1107). Grete no longer thinks of him as Gregor, but refers to him as “it”, showing that she really has no regards for him. This ultimately adds to the decision that they should get rid of
As soon as the Samsa’s returned to their flat, the family reminisces of the trials and ordeals which they were forced to endure upon their Gregor’s revolting transformation. Subsequent to discussing the matter the Samsa’s felt they could each hover above ground from the amount of anxiety which had been lifted from their shoulders. The Samsa’s decide they should clean their home and dispose of anything that brings the thought of Gregor to their minds. Mr. Samsa consumed with anger and disgust does not dare to go inside of Gregor’s dormitory. When the time comes however, to re-arrange what used to belong to their son, Gregor’s mother and sister enter the room.
Grete undergoes a change in perspective to such a degree that by the end of the novella it is she who declares, “we must get rid of it” (84). This change in perspective shows how Kafka believes that members of society often stop sympathizing with the isolated group when it becomes inconvenient for them to continue doing so. Gregor’s mother reacts in an initial manner somewhere between the father and sister since when first seeing him she “went two steps toward Gregor and collapsed right in the middle of her skirts” (23). These conflicting desires continue through the novella, such as when Mr. Samsa tries to kill Gregor, “she begged him to spare Gregor’s life” (65) but at the same time she is repulsed by him. This illustrates how she wants to help him and tries to think of him the same way she did before his transformation, yet is unable to. This resembles the idealists in society who theoretically support the alienated person but often succumb to social pressures when they are forced to face the problem. These three reactions to Gregor’s transformation as a result of the initiation of his isolation by the manager demonstrate the spectrum of reactions. From the immediate acceptance of the hierarchy represented by Mr. Samsa, to the true compassion of Grete and the idealism of Mrs. Samsa, Kafka shows how a wide variety of reactions is expected from society, and how people often change their opinions.
Gregor's physical transformation also sparks a streak of cruelty on the part of his family. It is understandable that they be frightened when he first appears, but they continue to lock him in his room without ever trying to communicate with him. The only person who ever goes in his room on a regular basis is his sister and she can barely even tolerate his presence. At one point when Gregor successfully escapes from his prison cell, his father ends up throwing apples at him with the intention of causing injury. "Gregor came to a stop in alarm, there was no point in running on, for his father was determined to bombard him." As Gregor merely sat there on the wall, his own father sunk an apple into his shell. After this event they leave him to whither away and die alone in his room. Gregor did not bring this horrid behavior upon himself by his actions, but instead they result because his different appearance and behavior led his family to think of
the family representative of Gregor, in a sense, to a mother who does not understand and a father who is hostile and opposing. The father is physically violent toward his metamorphosed Gregor, pushing him through a door in Part I: "...when from behind his father gave him a strong push which was literally a deliverance and he flew far into the room, bleeding freely" (20). Grete appears to concentrate on protecting Gregor from this antagonistic father and an indecisive mother. In Part II, when Grete leads her mother into Gregor's room for the first time, we see the strange way in which Grete has become both the expert and the caretaker of Gregor's affairs (Nabokov 271). She convinces her mother that it is best to remove all of the furniture from his room. Kafka attributes her actions partly to an adolescent zest: "Another factor which might have been also the enthusiastic temperament of an adolescent girl, which seeks to indulge
As a young child, he was a lone Jew attending a German school-which no doubt forced him to learn the "value" of conformity from an early age. As for Gregor, his family refuses to associate with him any longer and casually discards him because he is useless and perceived as different; i.e., dangerous. As such, the family finds this nonconformity almost threatening to their existence. A particularly pivotal and heartbreaking moment in Gregor's life occurs when his own beloved sister is asha! med of Gregor: Things cannot go on any longer in this way...I say only that we must try to get rid of it. We have tried what is humanly possible to take care of it and to be patient...I believe that no one can criticize us in the slightest...it is killing you both. I see it coming. When people have to work as hard as we all do, they cannot also tolerate Cheng 4 this endless torment at home. I just can't go on any more...this animal plagues us. It drives away the lodgers, will obviously take over the entire apartment, and leave us to spend the night in the lane. (Kafka) Basically, Grete is willing to kill her own blood relation purely based upon his unusual, repulsive appearance. However, despite the constant threat of extermination, his thoughts remain surprisingly selfless; he "did not have any notion of wishing to create problems for anyone and certainly not for his sister...he felt a great pride that he had been able to provide such a life in a
In his novel The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka describes his own life through the life of his protagonist Gregor Samsa. Careful study of Franz Kafka's life shows that Kafka's family, workplace, and reaction to the adversity in his family and workplace are just like those of Gregor. So we might ask why Gregor was transformed into a bug since Kafka obviously never turned into a bug. The absurd image illustrates how Gregor lacks self-respect and feels like he's a bug in the eyes of his family and society. Franz Kafka was unhappy and never found his place in life, either. Therefore, he might have felt just like Gregor, like a bug. Furthermore the novel describes Kafka's expectations of his own future and he was partially
Many views of existentialism are exposed in Kafka's Metamorphosis. One of these main views is alienation or estrangement which is demonstrated by Gregor's relationship with his family, his social life, and the way he lives his life after the metamorphosis. Namely, it suggests that man is reduced to an insect by the modern world and his family; human nature is completely self absorbed. Kafka reflects a belief that the more generous and selfless one is, the worse one is treated. This view is in direct conflict with the way things should be; man, specifically Gregor should be treated in accordance to his actions. Gregor should be greatly beloved by his family regardless of his state. This idea is displayed in three separate themes. First,
In The Metamorphosis, Kafka establishes, through his religious imagery and gospel-esque episodic narration, the character of Gregor Samsa simultaneously as a kind of inverse Messianic figure and a god-like artist, relating the two and thus turning the conventional concept of the literary hero on its ear. The structure of the novel reflects that of the Gospel of Mark in that it is narrated in individual events, and in this it is something of a Künstlerroman - that is, the real metamorphosis is over the course of the novel, rather than just at the beginning, and that change is a heightened sensitivity to the world in an artistic sense. The motif of change is a rather theological one as well: we see it in a religious sense, in the form of
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.
This contrast is the most powerful symbol of his power after the metamorphosis, and provides the reader with a vivid image of Gregor’s situation. His description of his lack of power is further supported by his inability to convey his dissatisfaction with the way Grete enters the room. This builds up the sympathy for Gregor by, in effect, comparing him to a handicapped person. In addition his action of adapting to the circumstances by hiding under the sofa when she comes in symbolizes his primitive instinct is still with him, and he is not completely handicapped.