Transformation And Pessimism In The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka

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The Modernist movement presents pessimism in literature and descriptions of individualistic characters challenged by society. For instance, Franz Kafka’s modernist fiction novella The Metamorphosis illustrates the life of Gregor Samsa and his transformation into an insect due to his inability to cope with the pressures at work and at home. However, upon deeper contemplation, it is evident that Gregor did not physically transform but has actually mentally deteriorated into a situation where he believes he has become a bug. Gregor’s relationship with his father reveals a potential reason for his transformation and details his remaining humanity. Through the scenes of Gregor being assaulted with a walking stick, a newspaper, and apples, Kafka fashions the father’s abusive nature (Kafka 19, 33). Mr. Samsa’s actions hint that the trauma he inflicts may be the reason Gregor has convinced himself that he is an insect. In addition, the sense of obedience Gregor feels due to his father’s authority molds a human characteristic that bugs lack. Straus explains that “the text has been read … as revealing father-son conflict or Oedipus conflicts. Hellmuth Kaiser, for example, describes it as the merciless attack of the elder Samsa upon his insect son” (Straus 128). The fact that Gregor is still considered his son reveals that he is also still considered a person. The common father-son conflict shows that even their unpleasant relationship devises Gregor’s lingering humanity. Despite

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