In his story The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka gives us the story of Gregor Samsa, a young man who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into an insect-like creature. Gregor, however, remains strangely indifferent to his plight, in a manner that seems inhuman to most readers. This is not due to a lack of omniscience on the narrator's part that causes the indifference to go unmentioned, and neither is it due to inobservance on the part of Gregor to the point of not noticing that he has been changed into an insect. Rather, Gregor does not pay much attention to his new form as an insect because his life as a human lacked many ordinary human characteristics. In other words, Gregor was mentally not human even before his change in physical form.
Just after his metamorphosis, Gregor makes an important observation on his job as a traveling salesman:
"Oh God," he thought, "what a grueling job I've picked! Day in, day out - on the road. The upset of doing business is much worse than the actual business in the home office, and, besides, I've got the torture of traveling, worrying about changing trains, eating miserable food at all hours, constantly seeing new faces, no relationships that last or get more intimate. To the devil with it all!" (4)
Most "normal" people would claim that meaningful relationships constitute the core of the human experience. But Gregor's concerns seem much more mundane. He begins with complaining about the quotidian problems of his job and only in the end reaches that which is really important - and then he immediately goes on to continue thinking about his job. He is obsessed with work, "a tool of the boss, without brains...
... middle of paper ...
...c. But we could also interpret this sentence in the opposite light, to assert that Gregor is an animal by dint of his ability to feel. This is supported by Gregor's ruminations on his plan to send Grete to the Conservatory: "...and it was his secret plan that she who, unlike him, loved music and could play the violin movingly..." (27, italics added). Thus, Gregor as a human being could not derive pleasure from music, indicating that he lived in a deprived, insect-like emotional state.
As we have seen, Gregor's mental life was extremely limited even before his physical metamorphosis. Perhaps Kafka intended this story as a means of pointing out that many people in an increasingly capitalist society, like Gregor, become more and more obsessed with money and thus live a mechanical life, like an insect. Thus, they sequester themselves from the pleasures of the soul.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Strained, overworked and mistreated was all Gregor has known. His family needs him so they can live comfortably with as little effort as possible. There are no strong family bonds or relationships because there is no love and respect within the family. Gregor provides and makes a comfortable life for his able bodied family with little regard to his own well being. However, he gains no respect and continually puts up with the family de-humanizing him. In Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, the well being and financial stability of Gregor’s family rest solely on him by the consent of the family making it impossible for close family relationships to form.... [tags: Family, The Metamorphosis, Money, Debt]
1952 words (5.6 pages)
- People want their family to love and support them during times of need, but if they are unable to develop this bond with their family members, they tend to feel alone and depressed. In the novel The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Kafka describes the theme of alienation and its negative effect on people and their relationships with the people around them. This theme can be shown through Gregor Samsa, the main character in The Metamorphosis. After Gregor’s metamorphosis, or transformation, he is turned from a human being into a giant bug which makes him more and more distant from the people in his life.... [tags: Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis]
1283 words (3.7 pages)
- In the novel, The Metamorphosis, the author, Franz Kafka, reflects the opinions and experiences of his life into the story by using Gregor Samsa, a traveling businessman, and other characters like Samsa’s father and mother to show the struggles he had throughout his existence. Kafka shows his beliefs about work and jobs in society by making Gregor share his thoughts on this topic. Another aspect of Gregor’s life that is similar to Kafka’s is their relationships with their families, and especially their fathers.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1096 words (3.1 pages)
- Franz Kafka was always on the fence. His indecisiveness regarding his nationality, religion, and stance on war, culminated in a protracted yet futile identity struggle. World War I found him surrounded by civilians who fell neatly into the categories of pacifism and militarism. Kafka was neither, but the decision was made for him when he developed tuberculosis. Consequently, he could neither enjoy the long, happy life he desired nor sacrifice it for his nation. Likewise, Gregor Samsa is in a state of Purgatory in The Metamorphosis.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1499 words (4.3 pages)
- Arguably one of Franz Kafka 's most brilliant works, The Metamorphosis provides many ambiguities for readers to consider. One of the many thought-provoking aspects of Kafka’s story is Gregor Samsa 's transformation into a bug, rather than any other animal. What is Kafka trying to say by using this symbol to describe Gregor. One explanation for this may be the many qualities that Gregor 's character shares with bugs and how they are perceived by humans. Through the details presented in the story, it is clear that Kafka has chosen for Gregor to become a bug because, like an insect, he has a robotic-like work ethic, an altruistic nature, and lacks of significance to others.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1400 words (4 pages)
- What is happen if one day you wake up in your bed and recognize that you turn into a giant bug. I think it may be the most terrible and unforgettable day of your life. “He lay on his armour-like back.... His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked,” “What 's happened to me?"(Kafka) Gregor Samsa thought- he transforms into a “horrible vermin”(Kafka). This is the short paragraph into the book name is “The Metamorphosis” of the author Franz Kafka.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1504 words (4.3 pages)
- “The Metamorphosis” is a surreal novella by Franz Kafka surrounding the transformation and betrayal of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one day, reborn into a large insect. Along with the bizarre and nightmarish appearance of his new hard back, brown segmented belly, and many legs, Gregor’s only desire is to live a normal life; unfortunately, this is impossible because he struggles to even get out of bed. Gregor’s transformation into an insect is a vivid metaphor for the alienation of humans from around the world.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
862 words (2.5 pages)
- Gregor Samsa is the protagonist in the famous novella The Metamorphosis, written by the Czech author Franz Kafka. Gregor goes through a physical metamorphosis during his sleep, awaking to find himself entrapped in the body of a giant insect, not knowing how or why it happened. Yet, throughout the story you see that Gregor’s humility, as a human and as an insect, shows that he truly cares for his family in the 1915 classic. Through Gregor’s love for his now neglectful family, we can ask this question: is Gregor actually more human than his family.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1422 words (4.1 pages)
- Franz Kafka uses various themes throughout his work in The Metamorphosis. Two that stood out to me were the themes of alienation and social status. I feel as though Kafka uses Gregor’s transformation into a giant vermin as a metaphor to pique the reader 's interest and tell a frame narrative about society and class. Kafka uses his work to show his readers the alienation that Gregor feels in his life and the expectations his family, society and work have placed on him. The Metamorphosis shows us the effect money and material things have on people and how it ultimately caused Gregor to end his life.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1226 words (3.5 pages)
- Franz Kafka 's The Metamorphosis revolves around Gregor Samsa, a businessman who one day turned into a beetle. While this whole novel seems purely a work of fiction, it has a realistic feel to it as well. Apart from the metamorphosis of the main character, everything else is set in the contemporary world. While the book focuses on Gregor’s metamorphosis, each character in the family experiences their own metamorphosis, and realistically shows how metamorphoses happens in each of our lives. In the beginning of the novel, Gregor Samsa is seen as the sole breadwinner of the family.... [tags: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa]
1623 words (4.6 pages)
- Sound and Sense in Langston Hughes' The Negro Speaks of Rivers
- Analysis of Jonson's On My First Son
- Clothing and Gender in Virginia Woolf's Orlando
- Mother and Daughter Relationship Exposed in Joyce Carol Oates Short Story, Shopping
- Attempts to Connect in Joyce Carol Oates' Shopping
- The Hidden Meaning of Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper