Essay on The Overriding Presentation Of The Novel ' Metamorphosis '

Essay on The Overriding Presentation Of The Novel ' Metamorphosis '

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The overriding presentation in the novella Metamorphosis, Kafka- 1915, of industrialisation is shown clearly through the themes of alienation, dehumanisation and entrapment all of which highlight the effects on the people increasing industry was having at this time in Europe. Changing technology and industry meant a changing society as well which many feel is what Kafka is focusing on during this novella as well as tension from an impending war.
Dehumanisation is most prevalent in the central metaphor of Gregor being transformed into an insect. The interiority of Gregor still being human on the inside but being an insect on the outside and yet still not really comprehending what is happening to him, implies that he doesn’t feel that much has changed in the way that society views him: ‘What a strenuous career I is that I’ve chosen!...’ The unsaid implies that Gregor believes the reason why he has woken up as an insect is just because he has been working so hard at work that therefore, due to this pressure, it is a normal occurrence for his body to appear this way and would happen to anyone working as hard as he has been. This idea presented by Kafka may suggest that industrialisation caused people to push themselves to new limits- especially for the working class people like Gregor’s character- and therefore significant problems went unnoticed because they no longer cared about their wellbeing because work was their one and only focus to survive.
The different roles shown in the microcosm of Metamorphosis further presents dehumanisation as a key effect of industrialisation. The relationship between Gregor and his superior -the Chief Clerk- is a significant example in the novella in that the new roles and hierarchy created due to in...


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...their minds they know it is better not to risk the work they have to do better – much like Gregor who is working to pay off his fathers debt rather than for himself when really he has no real need to do this.
Overall, Kafka presents the effects of industrialisation to be very negative in the novella metamorphosis if it is looked at in the perspective of the Samsa family being a microcosm of society. Ideas of entrapment, alienation and dehumanisation are key effects that are clearly evident, through the usage of symbols and metaphors especially, which are purposefully put into place to encourage people at the time to think about how Europe has changed and not just focus on some of the good industrialisation has caused; the message being that maybe something can and should be done to stop society becoming more isolated and fragmented between workers and even familes.

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