The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka: The Absurdity Of Life And The Human Condition

May 18, 2022 by Essay Writer

This novella, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is about a man that completely transformed into a gigantic bug at the beginning of the story. The most remarkable thing is that Gregor, as a human being and insect, accepts the difficulties he faces without complaining. When his father’s business collapsed, he accepted his new role as the money-maker in the family without asking questions. Even if that meant he had to work as a traveling salesman which he disliked. When he realizes for the first time that he is an insect, he does not regret his condition, wonders about its cause, and does not try to correct it in any way. But he quickly acknowledges that he has become a beetle and tries to live his life as best as possible in his new state. For Gregor, this means above all getting used to his new body.

In fact, the reunion of human thoughts and feelings with his new insect body is the main conflict Gregor faces in this story. Although he has become an insect, Gregor still wants to work to support his family. He knows that “he must on no account let the manager go away in this mood if his position in the firm were not to be jeopardized in the extreme” Chapter 1 pg. 14. He needs time to realize that he can no longer play this role in his family and that he can’t go in its current state once more on the road. As the story continues, the body of the insect Gregor has an ever-greater influence on his psychology. He finds out that it is easy for him to hide in the dark under the couch in his room, like a beetle. He also finds out that he likes to crawl through walls and roofs. But Gregor’s humanity never disappears completely. He still experiences human feelings and has strong memories of his human life. As a result, although he could be more comfortable when his room is free of furniture, leaving him crawling everywhere. Gregor panics when Greta and his mother arrive at the furniture, like a desk, and reminds them of all their chores when he was a child. In a desperate attempt to contain the few memories of his humanity, he clings to a picture of a fur-wrapped woman so that no one takes her with them. In the end, he cannot fully adapt to his new body or find a new role in his family, which feels outraged and ashamed of his presence at home. Near the end of the story, he is obsessed with the idea that he can once again take control of family affairs and play his role as a money collector in the family. Despite these hopes, he decides that it is better for the family if he would completely disappear, and so dies as he lived; he accepted his fate without complaint, and to consider the best interests of his family.

Besides Gregor, Greta the sister is the only other character of relative importance. Greta is also the only character who, through the novella, shows compassion for Gregor, because she and his brother were so close and lead to the take care of Gregor after his transformation. As a result, she becomes Gregor’s primary guardian. She brings him food, cleans his room, puts his chair by the window so he can lookout, and she comes up with the idea of removing the furniture, so he has more space to crawl up and up. “Into a room in which Gregor ruled the bare walls all alone, no human being beside Grete was ever likely to set foot” Chapter 2 pg. 34. In this role as a caregiver, this is the only human contact Gregor had during his life as an insect. Gregor is just as strong as his emotional connection with his family and with the rest of humanity.

However, Greta changes more than any other character in the story, mostly experiencing her own transformation from girl to woman, and this changes by how her pity and affection slowly fade away over time. While Greta takes care of her brother for the first time out of kindness, later, she sees it more like work, as a duty. She wasn’t always like that, but it serves to determine her place in the family and to be Gregor’s caretaker she didn’t want others to do her job and their mother to come by. As she matures and takes on more responsibility as an adult, she especially found a job to help her family financially, her commitment to Gregor diminishes. In the end, she hates her job, and Greta brought up the idea of getting rid of Gregor. “Growing quieter and communicating almost unconsciously through glances, they thought that it would soon be time, too, to find her a good husband…” Chapter 3 pg. 58. The story ends with her parents, who realize that Greta has become a beautiful young woman and think that maybe it’s time to stop taking care of Gregor and to find herself a husband.

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