Essay on Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Essay on Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness

Length: 1585 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

This essay explores the experience of estrangement and dislocation in Franz Kafka’s, ‘The Metamorphosis’ and Joseph Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness. Generally speaking, estrangement is a form of exclusion whereby readers, and characters within a story are alienated. In contrast, dislocation is a disturbance caused due to a change in place or state. ‘The Metamorphosis’ looks at how the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, is ostracised through his transformation. In contrast, Heart of Darkness has the continuing theme of dislocation throughout the novel. This paper will also consider the estrangement of the native inhabitants in Conrad’s novel. Theodor Adorno has written the following on Kafka’s writing: ‘each sentence says ‘interpret me’, and none will permit it.’ In other words, Kafka’s convoluted style of writing invites and resists interpretation. Bearing this in mind, this essay will consider the form to establish how the text itself alienates the reader through its narrative structure and use of language. It is also important to acknowledge that the author’s lives and experiences may have impacted their works; however, this paper will focus on the stories themselves.
‘The Metamorphosis’ has a very peculiar narrative, since its climax is reached in the very first sentence: ‘As Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into some kind of monstrous vermin.’ This opening sentence is crucial, since this extraordinary transformation is what the story is centred around. The imagery takes a metaphor literally; however, it is difficult for one to comprehend the metamorphosis of a human into a monstrous vermin. As a consequence, this opening sentence defamiliarises the reader, for it disrupts one’s habitual ...

... middle of paper ...

...Lawson, Franz Kafka (New York: The Ungar Publishing Company, 1987).

Conrad, Joseph, Heart of Darkness (London: Harper Press, 2013).

Boa, Elizabeth, ‘The Double Taboo: The Male Body in The Judgement, The Metamorphosis, and In the Penal Colony’, in Elizabeth Boa, Kafka: Gender, Class, and Race in the Letters and Fictions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

Rolleston, James, ‘The Metamorphosis’, in James Rolleston, Kafka’s Narrative Theater (USA: The Pennsylvania State University, 1974).

Edgerly Firchow, Peter, ‘A Mere Animal in the Congo’, in Peter Edgerly Firchow, Envisioning Africa: Racism and Imperialism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 2000).

F. Haugh, Robert, ‘Heart of Darkness: Problem for Critics’, in Joseph Conrad, Robert Kimbrough (ed.), Heart of Darkness, second edn (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1971).

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of ' The Metamorphosis ' By Franz Kafka Essay

- To Use the Figurative Language The English language is filled with words that help convey meaning to stories without saying the actual meaning. These useful words are called figures of language and not only are they important in daily life, but they are a necessity in books and plays to deliver to the point home to the reader or make him on her laugh. The English language is an extremely complex and diverse collection of words. This is one of the many reasons why English is a worldwide language, because there are thousands of way to express a single thought....   [tags: Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis]

Powerful Essays
1133 words (3.2 pages)

Totaltitarian Germany and The Trial by Franz Kafka Essay

- During Europe’s period of economic advancement, industrialization, and militia power Franz Kafka crafted a novel that perfectly exemplified what was to become of the country in the following years. Written by Kafka in 1914, The Trial contained numerous totalitarian representations, mocking the form of government in which the citizens are bound to the absolute rule of an autocratic authority. The book was not published and exposed to the world until the initial introduction of despotism in the late 1920s....   [tags: industralization, militia, power]

Powerful Essays
783 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Metamorphosis and Heart of Darkness

- Although both Joseph Conrad and Franz Kafka distance their protagonists from conventional society to represent the shallowness of mankind, Kafka does so through internal changes whereas Conrad creates external changes. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad removes Marlow from accepted society to show how challenges man suffers through to survive on their own with the superficiality surrounding them. Kafka exiles Gregor in Metamorphosis to demonstrate the ignorance people have for others physically and mentally different from themselves through Gregor’s transformation and the isolation he endures....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Kafka, Conrad]

Free Essays
991 words (2.8 pages)

The Metmorphosis In Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis Essay

- Grete’s Metamorphosis People change when things become difficult or they are faced with an unfamiliar situation. This is made very apparent in the novella The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Throughout the story Grete seems to go through her own metamorphosis. She changes from a nice warm hearted person to a uncaring and cold hearted sister towards Gregor. This is displayed in each part of the story through Kafka's use of diction and symbolism. In the beginning Grete is very kind and caring towards Gregor....   [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov]

Powerful Essays
912 words (2.6 pages)

The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka Essay

- Capitalistic Society and Alienation in The Metamorphosis The human psyche is a fragile and complicated entity. In the text, The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka introduces Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman that wakes up to find himself turned into an insect. There are no rhetoric or complications with the assessment. There is never an explanation given as to why this transformation or metamorphosis has occurred. Thus, due to Samsa’s transformation, Gregor Samsa is continuously isolated from the rest of his family who in turn, isolate Samsa even more as time passes....   [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Capitalism]

Powerful Essays
1655 words (4.7 pages)

The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka Essay

- Waking up as a cockroach would be an unusual and frightening circumstance for most people. For Gregor Samsa, it was more of an inconvenience than something to be afraid of. Gregor Samsa is the protagonist of “The Metamorphosis”, which is a short story written by Franz Kafka, about a man who lived a bleak and depressing life. Franz Kafka was born in Prague, Czech Republic in 1883 to Jewish parents. In life, Kafka himself was depressed and he felt like he didn’t fit in. He was also a schizophrenic which may explain why he made his character wake up one morning as a giant cockroach....   [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Cockroach]

Powerful Essays
1859 words (5.3 pages)

The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka Essay

- In Franz Kafka 's novella The Metamorphosis many ideologies and personal family relations are examined and brought to light. These include views of existentialism and estrangement, both of which that are demonstrated by Gregor 's personality and his family members. Many of these elements are found in Gregor’s personal affairs, as well as how he goes about enduring his metamorphosis. The strife in which Gregor and his family share has a particular Id, Ego, and Super-Ego-like quality to it, which later blends into a theory discovered by Freud years later....   [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Psychoanalysis]

Powerful Essays
815 words (2.3 pages)

Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis Essays

- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a classic piece of literature. This masterpiece of stunning psychological, sociological and existential angst has blessed the minds of readers since it was written in 1912. It is the story of Gregor Samsa, a hardworking man trying to pay off the debt of his family, but transforms into a vermin, (bug). There are many parallels of Kafka’s life to Gregor’s in Metamorphosis. Both Kafka and Gregor were in family and social discord, and a bureaucracy of a work world....   [tags: Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis]

Powerful Essays
1455 words (4.2 pages)

Franz Kafka's Metamorphisis Essay examples

- Gregor Samsa awakes one morning to discover that he has been transformed into a repugnant vermin. One may never know what initiated this makeover, but the simple truth is that Gregor is now a bug, and everyone must learn to live and move on in this strenuous situation. In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the characters that interact with Gregor, including his mother, his father, and his sister Grete, must come to terms with his unfortunate metamorphosis, and each does so by reacting in a unique way....   [tags: Franz Kafka Metamorphosis]

Free Essays
958 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis

- Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis The play metamorphosis was written by Franz Kafka but Steven Berkoff produced a theatre adaptation of Metamorphosis in the late 1960’s. Kafka was born 1883, his childhood was most troubling and life hard, as he was a Jew growing up in German culture, also being ignored and alienated is why Kafka could relate to the character Gregor. Kafka had a hard relationship with his Father who would mistreat him and often tell Kafka he was a failure and a disappointment, which came through on to the character of Gregor’s Father, another reason for Kafka to relate to Gregor....   [tags: Franz Kafka Metamorphosis]

Powerful Essays
792 words (2.3 pages)