Essay: The literature of Metamorphosis

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published on: August 24, 2019
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  • The literature of Metamorphosis
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The literature of Metamorphosis is one of the frequently analyzed works. This impalpable story, which chronicles the transformation of Gregor Samsa into an enormous insect from a human being, is well known for its ability to inspire diverse mutually exclusive interpretations. Metamorphosis has, for this reason, come to be considered one of the central enigmas of the modern imagination of literature. However, critics, in general, give credit to Kafka’s symbolic and powerful portrayal of Gregor’s physical transformation into an insect that does not change his feelings as a human being.

Gregor’s main intention and motivation are to ensure he settles his parent’s debts and sends his sister, Grete to a conservatory where she could learn to play the violin. In this story of Metamorphosis, Gregor, a traveling salesman, immediately he returned home, awakens one of the days to realize that he has transformed into an insect unable of communicating. He thinks it was a dream and an attempt to find a comfortable position to sleep because his insect body does not permit him, but his feeling is still attached to his job and the regret of becoming a travelling salesman. “Oh God …what a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out on the road, (Kafka 4). From a reader’s point of view one might think that this is just a plain and simple case of initial scanning of this story but on further analysis will realize that this is not what the story is all about. All the three characters, Grete, his mother and father share many similarities as they turn against Gregor, who earlier on was the only individual all looked up to. All the three undergo quite obvious and sudden transformation at the same time. Gegor becomes a point of concern as his metamorphosis is quite different.

Throughout the entire book, Gregor feels that his family is not as considerate and as kind as it should be. There is a clear description of the members of the family of Gregor during the beginning of the story. Each member finds out and reacts to the spontaneous change of behaviors in Gregor. In their natural state each of them reacts to Gregor’s anomaly through his eyes. Firstly, Gregor’s mother gets concerned that her son is not undertaking his daily duties. In comparison to the mothers approach, his father, looking for a way to take charge, pounds on the door. Here the father takes some control and disciplinary role. Lastly, Grete comes into play. Gretes’s reactions to Gregor and the way in which she transforms later on sets her apart from not only her parents but also Gregor.

From the Gregor’s parents, there is a rather quick transformation in their consideration towards Grergor’s metamorphosis. Gregor does not think about his awakening as a gigantic insect. He tailors his thoughts on the things that he needed to be done and on the mundane as if being a cockroach that is giant in nature not derails his usual work. When he departs home for the very first time as is natural, his mother, father, and Grete, his sister, all do freak out. Hereafter Grete remains the only individual willing to take care for Gregor. Immediately the Gregor gets forgotten, and to his parents he is considered just a huge bug. Gregor’s father with a stick threatens him while the mother completely rejects his nature, (Kafka, pg. 14). Grete, crept out of him, found ways to get Gregor the food he required. Meanwhile, the parents avoided him. Although some of them realized that this was still their son, they never removed the bug from their lives completely, (Kafka pg. 60).

Besides, Gregor considers Grete unkind. Grete depended on Gregor for the prissy, Victorian lifestyle coupled with cleaning ladies and maids. Her attitude towards him slowly changes as she walks with Gregor. She begins as weak, in her attempts to care for Gregor as an insect. Grete becomes more and more withdrawn from him as she discovers that there is nothing she can perform to nurse Gregor back to his original health. She comes to understand that her attempts to revive the lifestyle she was living before would be wasted on Gregor, who was not showing any signs of recovery. As a matter of fact, Grete no longer fed him as before and his father was angry and violent toward Gregor, throwing an apple at Gregor causing him to be paralyzed for a period, “These small red apples rolled as if electrified around on the floor and collided with each other,”(Kafka, pg. 64). Hoping to keep her dependence on Gregor, she keeps on holding to a hope that Gregor will get better, and everything will return to normal as before. She keeps this attitude for a long time and even starts to work, earning money and becoming partly independent to help her survive until Gregor can resume his roles. When Gregor comes out to listen to her music, ruining the family’s plans in renting out spare rooms something is made painfully to her, and she had to make a choice. She began seeing Gregor as a threat to her stability and survival.

Gregor’s parents completely changed. None had hope in Gregor getting back to normal. Therefore, they quickly got into economic survival modes to earn a living. The father recaptures confidence in his home as the breadwinner as the mother resumes feeling a little taste of being self-reliant again; therefore, the parent’s quick shift in attitude toward Gregor and also Grete’s reluctance to become independent. The parents were in a sense of craving for the independence while Grete was all she could to avoid it.

In conclusion, Gregor had good intentions at the beginning for his family. He wanted his family to be happy in whatever form they were. He sacrificed to provide for their needs. But in the end his family members despised him because of his transformation.

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