Existentialism in Kafka's Metamorphosis

Existentialism in Kafka's Metamorphosis

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Existentialism in Kafka's Metamorphosis

 
      The book Metamorphosis, written by Franz Kafka, is based on the

views of existentialism.  One of these main views is alienation or

estrangement which is demonstrated by Gregor's relationship with his family,

his social life, and the way he lives his life after the metamorphosis.

 

      Although Gregor doesn't realize it, the relationship between him

and his family is not good. Gregor is taking over his father's

responsibilities leaving nothing for Gregor's father to be responsible for.

At the same time, Gregor is making plans to send his sister to a good

school, but he fails to discuss this idea with her.  To make things worse,

Gregor even goes as far as to lock his own bedroom doors at night. He

thinks that his family is content with what he is doing, but the only thing

that Gregor accomplishes is to alienate himself from his family.

 

      Not only is Gregor alienating himself from his family, but he is

also alienating himself from society.  Gregor goes on many trips for his

job, and instead of going out to meet people, he stays at the motel and

does nothing. For this reason Gregor doesn't have a friend or a girlfriend

that he can find support in.  He follows the same routine everyday of his

life and fails to look ahead into the future.  By secluding himself like

this, Gregor's life becomes like the life of a cockroach.  It is for this

reason that he transforms into this creature.

 

      Gregor's life as a cockroach is no different than his life as a

human. Whenever Gregor tries to communicate with someone, the only thing

that comes out of his mouth are cockroach noises that scare his family, and

his appearance causes his family to not want be around him. His sister

tries to take care of him, but eventually she becomes weary of this never

ending task and forgets about him. Gregor is once again alienated from his

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family and the rest of society.

 

      Throughout the entire story, Gregor is almost like a total stranger

to everyone.  His family is very unhappy while he is taking care of them,

Gregor barely has any contact with the rest of society, and the

metamorphosis causes his family to not want to even be around him at all.

All of these situations are perfect examples of one of the views of

existentialism, or in other words, of alienation or estrangement.
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