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Themes: Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

Uploaded by SamSkillz on Feb 22, 2004

Themes: Metamorphosis

Gregor's predicament is much like that of any person suffering from severe, particularly disfiguring, chronic illness or disability. A person different from the norm is doomed to be outcast by society.

The Metamorphosis can also be seen as a reaction against bourgeois society and its demands. Gregor's manifest physical separation may represent his alienation and inarticulate yearnings. He had been a "vermin," crushed and circumscribed by authority and routine. He had been imprisoned by social and economic demands. An individual must realize that following the standards of society and what it deems “successful” may not lead one to happiness.

Without human love and care, one is reduced to nothing more than a shell with an untouchable soft center.

Gregor focused very hard and spoke very slowly. "I'm up," he said, "I'll be out of bed soon." It was difficult to make his voice come out the way he wanted it to, in much the same way that the constricting forces of social repression made it difficult for one to be an individual...

Economic effects on human relationships: Gregor is enslaved by his family because he is the one who makes money. Thus, with the possible exception of his sister, the family seems to treat him not as a member but as a source of income. When Gregor is no longer able to work after his metamorphosis, he is treated with revulsion and neglected. Once the family begins working, they also find difficulty communicating with each other, eating dinner in silence and fighting among themselves. The exhaustion of dehumanizing jobs and the recognition that people are only valuable so long as they earn a salary keeps anyone who works isolated from others and unable to establish human relations with them.

Freedom and escapism: Gregor is trapped in his job by his duty to his family, but he dreams of the day when he can finally pay off their debts and quit his job. His need for freedom from the restrictive demands of work is expressed in his metamorphosis, by means of which he escapes. This escape, however, fails to bring Gregor freedom, for he is now imprisoned by his family in his room. Thus, when Gregor works, he is enslaved by his job and, when he doesn't work, he is enslaved by his family. There is no way of balancing out freedom and duty, and in the end one is always a slave. The...

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Uploaded by:   SamSkillz

Date:   02/22/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   2 pages (522 words)

Views:   20959

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