Unsettling Dreams: an Analysis of the Metamorphosis

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Unsettling Dreams: An Analysis of The Metamorphosis Through his essay “Competing Theories of Identity in The Metamorphosis”, Kevin W. Sweeny explores three different concepts of identity that are brought to light in Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis. While our social role and conscious mind help establish our character, ultimately our material body determines how we identify, to ourselves and the general public. Through The Metamorphosis, Kafka explores how losing control of the body can conflict the mind, and decimate social status, as well as alter the very essence of one’s identity. When he awakes one morning to find his human body replaced with that of a bug in Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa does not…show more content…
Through the novella, Gregor struggles with the separation of mind from body. His body repeatedly rejects what his mind wants, as demonstrated when his sister left Gregor a bowl of fresh milk with little pieces of bread floating in it. He discovers that he “[doesn’t] like the milk at all, although if used to be his favorite drink” (16), and that he now has a taste for half-rotten vegetables and expired cheese. These food choices are also used to further emphasize the loss of Gregor’s human identity, as no average person would voluntarily choose rotten over fresh food. It also allows insight into how he will soon be viewed by his family. A peer or superior would never be offered anything less than the most fresh, nourishing food available; days-old and rotting food is typically only given to those seen as inferior.
He also finds great comfort underneath the couch in his room, even though he cannot fit entirely beneath it. This suggests the very stereotypical desire of a bug to be in a confined, dark space; a characteristic that is more often associated with a phobia than a desire among the human population. Gregor also uses a bed sheet to reveal and conceal himself. It is something that “fell off by itself” (6) with ease in the beginning of the story to reveal his bug body. And it is the same sheet he uses to cover himself for his sister’s sake later on, when he realizes that the sight of him is “still repulsive to

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