‘The Metamorphosis’ and ‘A Hunger Artist’ Essay

‘The Metamorphosis’ and ‘A Hunger Artist’ Essay

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There are many parallels and differences between Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” and "A Hunger Artist". Kafka portrays these differences and similarities very effectively through his utilization of elements such as transformation, dehumanization, and dedication to work. Through his works, Kafka communicates with the reader in such a way that almost provokes and challenges one’s imagination and creativity.
Kafka is known for his highly symbolic and oblique style of writing. It is no surprise that several of his pieces contain the same major themes, just in different settings. The fact that he repeats his styles only makes the message that he is trying to convey much stronger. In both “The Metamorphosis” and “A Hunger Artist”, the main characters are similar in the way that they are both extremely dedicated to their work. In “The Metamorphosis”, Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a bug. Oddly enough, Gregor does not question how this transformation happened or even why it happened. He is more concerned about getting to work (Metamorphosis 4). Similarly, in “A Hunger Artist”, the main character is completely dedicated to his job. In fact, he is so dedicated that he actually thinks of ways in which he can improve himself. At the end of a fast he asks himself, "Why stop fasting at this particular moment…why stop now…?" (Bedford 637).
Both of the characters in these pieces also cause their own destruction. Their deaths are both caused by starvation. After Gregor's death in Metamorphosis, his sister remarks, "Just look how thin he was. Of course he didn't eat anything for such a long time. The food came out again just the way it went in." (Metamorphosis 55) Ironically, though, it is because of Greta,...

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... comparisons and contrasts that can be made regarding the “The Metamorphosis” and “A Hunger Artist”. While it is true that Kafka’s style of writing is considered oblique, it may be interesting to know that many of Kafka's trials and animal metamorphoses are actually derived from common motifs in Jewish folklore (Bruce). If one were to learn about Kafka’s thoroughly extensive knowledge in Judaism, it would be easier to see how Kafka’s thought processes were reflected into his stories.

Works Cited

Bruce, Iris. "Elements of Jewish Folklore in Kafka's Metamorphosis." The Metamorphosis: Translation, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. 107-25. Print.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Stanley Corngold. Toronto: Bantam, 1986. Print.
Meyer, Michael. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 5th ed. Boston: St. Martin's, 2005. Print.

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