Kafka’s novel The Metamorphosis bases on the discussion of the theme of absurd. Specifically, it describes irrational events showing that things happen in a chaotic, random world. In fact, the ‘metamorphosis’ is a shift of the physical structure. This paper will focus on the theme of alienation for the main character of the Kafka’s novel.
In The Metamorphosis, the physical form of the protagonist human changes into the insect. This change gives the ground for one of the main themes in the story: the topic of alienation. The life story of Gregor, the main character, includes being alienated from everything that a person is used to have. The protagonist is estranged from his place of work, family members, and himself. However, Gregor’s being as an insect is similar to his previous life. His metamorphosis turns his body to a less comfortable one.
Gregor tries to get alone in his new physical shell. He says, “Numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk” (Kafka, 1915) and feels “dull ache he had never experienced before” (Kafka, 1915). The protagonist feels the physical changes; this is evidence in the morning after the transformation. At that time, Gregor cannot sleep, as he cannot roll over to the other side. He thinks that he is not able go to work anymore. However, Gregor has “a prudent habit acquired in traveling of locking all doors during the night” (Kafka, 1915), which emphasizes the increasing pitch between him and his family.
Gregor can no longer live his previous life. As a result, he is alienated from monetary economics. Unfortunately, the monetary relations were the main ones in his relations with his family. Gregor’s family realizes that something is wrong with him as he leaves the room. At that time, they notice that Gregor cannot work anymore. Father’s to the transformation of the main character is not much different from the one he would have if Gregor lost his job. Thus, at first, the father is angry and then he begins to grieve.
Therefore, when Gregor in the body of an insect can no longer support his family financially, he is repulsive to his family and society. Such situation also exists in everyday society: people are alienated from others when they lose their previous ability, and as a result, they alienate from themselves. For instance, this includes people who were imprisoned. However, the alienation of Gregor from his family is not the new thing. At that moment, the distance is physical. His family locks him in the room thinking that he is no longer a human. Eventually, Gregor becomes a stranger to his family. The main reflection of it is the father’s desire to kill his son by throwing apples at him. Gregor notices the alienation from his family when his father takes his role as a provider. He works in the bank now and dresses in “a smart blue uniform with gold buttons” (Kafka, 1915). His sister also gets a job and starts a new life. In reality, such situations are not very rare. For example, gay people often face misunderstanding and condemnation coming from others.
After some time, Gregor understands that his family can exist without him, which is the actual reason of his self-alienation. His sister raises the question about murdering Gregor. This solution is painful for him, and it eventually leads to death. His transformation allows him to understand that his life is meaningless. Neither is he is necessary as a son, a brother nor as a member of society.
To conclude, The Metamorphosis describes the unreal events. The alienation of Gregor is the result of the attitude of this family and the society towards him. Therefore, he suffers from others’ indifference. This novel shows that the balance of work and family is vital for everyone. That is why people should treat their family regardless of the economic conditions.
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