Franz Kafka the Metamorphosis

Last Updated: 02 Aug 2020
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The Metamorphosis is arguably Franz Kafkas best works of literature where author, Franz Kafka, directly casts upon the negative aspects of his life both mentally and physically. Franz Kafka was a visionary, whose works contained the secret to the future. Kafka’s world is one of a kind. To Kafka popular culture portrays contrast between functional and dysfunctional families to frame the elements that contribute to their formation. In similar pursuit, Kafka recognizes one significant aspect in the establishment of a healthy and stable family.

In The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka applies symbols, imagery, and settings to impress that a family organization where equally shared responsibilities prevail is more effective in keeping a positive domestic atmosphere. Also Kafka demonstrates the absurdity of human life and the sense of alienation of human existence, a reflection of Kafka’s own life. “Because the notion of bug aptly characterized his sense of worthlessness and parasitism before his father. ” (Neider 262). When Franz Kafka was a boy his father abused him.

Whenever Kafka disagreed with his father or told his father that he wanted to be a writer, his father got very upset with him. Franz was expected to follow the course his father planned out for him. “But from his childhood he considered himself a disappointment to his authoritarian figure parent and inadequate when compared with him. ” (Czech 255). Kafka’s father viewed Franz as a failure and disapproved of his writing because he wanted Franz to become a businessman like him. This obsession with wanting Franz to become a businessman led his father Herrman to beat his son.

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There was always a great tension between Kafka and his father; Kafka always had strong mixed feelings toward him. Franz had other siblings but he was left all alone to struggle with the mantle of his father's expectations and frustrations. The relationship between Gregor and his father is in many ways were similar to Franz and his father Herrman. The emotional and physical abuse Gregor goes through is reciprocal to what Kafka went through in real life. They were both abused and neglected by their fathers when they were disappointed with them.

“The mother and sister almost survive the test, but the father rejects him from the start. (Angus 264). The relationship with his father was reflected in Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis. In the book, Mr. Samsa displayed a violent temper from the very first encounter with the transformed Gregor. “When he chased Greggor back into the room, he kicked him in the back as he reached for the door. ” (Kafka). Kafka illustrates that imbalance in family responsibility results in resentment and hatred. “All our knowledge of Kafka’s life and story technique suggests that it is a precipitation in fantasy of his lifelong sense of loneliness and exclusion. ” (Angus 264).

Quite apart from his isolation within his family, Kafka also felt isolated from the rest of society. Both Samsa and Kafka experienced the difficulties of living in a modern society and the struggle for acceptance of others when in a time of need. Also the lack of affection in Kafka’s childhood is a cause of feeling isolation that both Samsa and Kafka felt. Kafka never seemed to keep a wife. He was engaged twice but both times he was the one that ended the engagement. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa says “Constantly seeing new faces, no relationships that last or get more intimate. (Kafka).

Gregor Samsa was a character that endured seclusion and exile like no other. Gregor adopts the precaution “of locking all the doors during the night even at home. ” (Kafka). In this quote, the lock symbolizes Gregor’s wish to isolate himself from his family and society due to his anger. “Into a room in which Gregor ruled the bare walls all alone, no human being inside Grete was ever likely to set foot. ” (Kafka 34). The way Samsa was portrayed by his own family was the main cause of the feelings in which Gregor felt.

His family purely the basis of the isolationism. Throughout the book, The Metamorphosis, Kafka creates Gregor to express his own feelings of isolation and alienation. “Reminded even his father that Gregor was a member of the family, in spite contrary, it was the commandment of family duty to swallow their disgust and endure him, endure him and nothing more. ” (Kafka). Kafka, in a similar situation, uses Gregor transforming into a bug as a way of exaggerating himself, trying to express his feelings and point of view.

Kafka saw the world much as he describes in his novels, just as a man who feels himself to be persecuted sees reality fitting into a system, which is really of a spiritual order, to persecute him. ” (Spender 257). Kafka who had the pressure of his father forcing his own occupation on him resulted in a negative way. It was the main reason that caused Kafka’s animosity towards his father. Kafka’s father already forced him to do what he wanted and not what Kafka wanted. This is similar to Gregor’s work life as a salesman. Gregor is not working for himself but to pay the family’s debt; he is unsatisfied with his occupation.

Gregor Samsa is the only provider in the family he gives his family a nice atmosphere making them all feel economic security. Gregor’s atmosphere is one his family wouldn’t understand. He has the burden of finance on just him, only a single person results and this results in bitterness and anger. Kafka implies that in order to achieve a healthy family atmosphere, all members must contribute equally to common causes. Kafka uses symbols to contrast the difference in mood between the unequal and equal shares in financial responsibility of the Samsa’s family.

He also uses imagery and settings to provide a transition between positive and negative opposition as a result of the shift towards balance and evenness of responsibility. His message is about domestic stability. The first page of The Metamorphosis is Gregor’s transformation. This tends to leave many readers confused at what’s actually going on. “Kafka states in the first sentence that Gregor wakes up to find himself changed into a giant kind of vermin (“Ungeziefer”). The term “vermin” holds the key to the double aspect of The Metamorphosis. ” (Sokel 267). When you think vermin you think, bug.

According to the dictionary a vermin is “noxious, objectionable, or disgusting animals collectively, especially those of small size that appear commonly and are difficult to control. ” You think its just something that lives off human beings and maybe sucks their blood. However in context to The Metamorphosis “On the other hand, it connotes something defenseless, something that can be stepped upon and crushed. ” (Sokel 267). These words are proven to be a correlation to how Gregor Samsa felt in The Metamorphosis. This is how Kafka felt about himself. He uses Gregor to expand upon what and how he felt.

He felt this way relating back to his father. Kafka’s father viewed him as a vermin. “Kafka’s famous letter to his father would give support to such a view since Kafka has his father refer to him as a blood-sucking type of vermin, a bedbug or a louse. ” (Sokel 267). Franz Kafka channels his real insecurities into his writing by attributing them to his protagonist, Gregor. The transformation from human to insect depicted in his novel represents the author’s childhood loss of confidence and self-esteem. The Kafkaesque nightmare of The Metamorphosis mimics the authors own life.

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Franz Kafka the Metamorphosis. (2016, Sep 28). Retrieved from

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