In “The Metamorphosis” by Frank Kafka

In “The Metamorphosis” by Frank Kafka, the author uses a lot of symbolism to catch the
reader’s imagination. He identifies one valuable ingredient to stablish a healthy family, equal-
shared responsibility. The author emphasizes that a family organization where equally shared
responsibility prevail is more effective in maintaining a positive domestic atmosphere. The
author also describes the theme of alienation and its negative effect on people and how their
relationships isolate others around them. This alienation can be shown through Gregor and
Grete Samsa. Gregor was a man, who sacrifices himself to pay his father’s debt and this action
was never recognized by his family. He transforms into monstrous vermin creating a discord
between his mind and body. Gregor’s change makes him physically and emotionally separates
from his family and the human race. There is no mention in the story of any close friend. Reality
and rejection play an important role in this story. The events that occur during the story can be
applied and assimilated with modern society.
Throughout the story of “The Metamorphosis”, the quiet struggle between Gregor and
his father elevates the tensions and internal friction in the household until the fateful day of
Gregor’s transformation. Kafka uses the plot of The Metamorphosis to illustrate the succeeding
stage of isolation. This story emphasizes Gregor’s seclusion and the family’s separation from
society. The absurd event that Gregor’s transformation implies never explains what caused the
change or how to solve it. For example, Gregor’s family doesn’t seek out for any help, and they
appear more disgusted than shocked. This unusual reaction contributes to the absurdity of the
story. The Samsa dehumanize Gregor on multiple occasions and force him into seclusion
because they no longer see him as useful family member. His father treats him like a complete
animal and make him feels as a miserable insect. Isolation affects people greatly. It only adds to
thoughts and feelings of loneliness and depression experienced at one point by all people. Perhaps,
Kafka tries to portray that a little Gregor Samsa exists in everyone. People get isolated by themselves.
For example, most of the times, people don’t have time for their own families because of their hectic
work schedules creating a negative impact on their kids. Loneliness can put children at risk for other
emotional challenges. A child who is lonely may feel that others are rejecting him. He may lose
confidence in himself and eventually believe he has nothing valuable to offer. Perhaps, a major focus on
modernism is on how society alienates people from one another, and how society is actually damaging
to its citizens. We as readers can see this in Gregor’s job. As a traveling salesman, he always has to be
contacting with different people all the time and never get the chance to know them. His job has been
absorbing him in a way that he felt alone. He had no close friends and often spent weeks at a time away
from his family. People need to do what they love to get a prosperous life. If we have jobs that we hate,
it can torture us and we can cause our own metamorphosis. Many people in today’s society let social
alienation take over and ruin their lives.
According to Karl Marx, Social alienation is the state of being emotionally and socially isolated
and dysfunctional with your surroundings. Marx developed his theory of alienation to reveal the human
activity that lies behind the seemingly impersonal forces dominating society. In “The Metamorphosis”
Kafka shows the social alienation through isolation and rejection towards Gregor. Kafka uses social
rejection to describe the process of alienation of an individual. All these facts make the reader think the
people can sacrifice themselves for the other sake, but self- sacrifice would be useless since nobody
would care about such person and that would lead our society to a complete degradation and
transformation in primitive insects, while such people will always be strangers and the alienation of such
people are inevitable. This sincere and generous effect to help other people does not bring any moral
reward to the main character, but instead, contributes to his alienation since society does not except
such individuals because they are different from the rest of consumerist society which major value is
wealth and high social position.
There are some symbols that the author tries to introduce to form an explicit meaning of what
he is trying to portray. However, food is one of my favorite symbols to talk about. This represents the
way his family feels towards him. Perhaps, The Samsa’s family is not proud of Gregor because of the way
he is. However, there’s always one family member who takes care of everything and has consideration
towards him. That’s his sister named Grete. She is the one who feeds him and shows sympathy towards
him. His mother has a particular way to worry about him but it’s not enough. To illustrate, working in
the medical field, I see many situations that are similar to Gregor’s. There are people that they leave
their family members in a hospital and they don’t visit them. Some of them are not even able to eat by
themselves and they tend to be depressed. I know we all have things to do. Our jobs are sustaining us
but not everything is money. Most of the time, we need to hear something like I’m there for you. it’s
madly sad that you only appreciate a person when he or she is gone.
In the metamorphosis by Frank Kafka, the author dehumanizes his main character through the
actions of his family and distorts reality as a way to show consistent theme of seclusion, isolation and
rejection. Gregor’s family disregards his life both in human and insect form.


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