Subconscious Rebellion in the Novel The Metamorphosis Essay

Subconscious Rebellion in the Novel The Metamorphosis Essay

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The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka, is about a man who has been

transformed into a giant beetle overnight. This transformation is a form of rebellion that

turns out to be a punishment for that rebellion. The Metamorphosis is a story of

subconscious rebellion and isolation to avoid one's responsibilities.

The story begins, "When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling

dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin." (Kafka, 3) This

is quite surprising. Most people would be extremely shocked and frightened to wake up

as a giant beetle, but this matter-of-fact tone Kafka uses makes it seem as if Gregor is

not shocked at all. It sounds like this is completely normal. In fact, Gregor ponders

more over his job than his strange transformation. He seems to immediately forget

what has happened to him, and begins to rant "what an awful 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...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." (Kafka, 4) It's obvious that Gregor is more than tired of his

job. "To the devil with it all!" (Kafka, 4) he says.

As Gregor continues to procrastinate getting out of bed he thinks rebellious

thoughts against his boss. He wishes to tell him off, surprise him so much that falls off

his desk, and walk out with his freedom. However, because of the so-called debt that

his father incurred, Gregor has had to suppress his rebellious wish. Kafka alludes to the

fact that Gregor's rebellious wishes began far before the me...


... middle of paper ...


...umans he is thrown into

isolation. This isolation truly completes the metamorphosis, because if he can be

understood by humans than he can't be a full insect.

In the end, Gregor is basically punished to a life of solitary confinement in his

empty, useless room. The metamorphosis acts as his subconscious rebellion and his

punishment for rebellion. His health declines and he eventually stops eating until he

dies. His family doesn't even care enough about him to do a proper burial. He was

simply "swept away."



Works Cited


Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. New York City, New York: Bantam Books, 1972. Print.

Sokel, Walter H. "Kafka's 'Metamorphosis': Rebellion and Punishment." Monatshefte, XLVIII (April-May 1956), pp. 203-14.

Politzer, Heinz. Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1962, Pp. 37-41.

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