Kafka explores familial relations and tensions in his novella The Metamorphosis. The main character, Gregor, awakens one morning to discover he has turned into a monstrous insect. Despite his physical transformation, he still attempts to provide for his family and keeps them in mind, especially his mother. The mother, a weak and timid character, shows sympathy and concern for Gregor during this time, but her feeble disposition makes her an extension of his father, a lazy but domineering man whose will she submits to. The mother, because of her fright in Gregor’s exterior, lacks the drive to care properly for him. The separation with Gregor causes the mother to become apathetic towards him, falling asleep while the father and sister discuss ridding themselves of Gregor. Upon seeing his family’s reactions, Gregor loses the will to live and dies. In Six Characters in Search of an Author, Luigi Pirandello also explores family dynamics in his absurdist and existential play. The characters, bound by the limits the author sets them in their story, struggle with the aftereffect and consequences of their actions as they continuously relive their story. The mother, who is similarly weak-willed, is quick to defend her affair, and laments her dead lover and the fate of her children, the two youngest dead, her oldest son despising her, and her daughter pitying her. However, her lamentation and knowledge of what happens to her children alienates her from them, and causes separation, anxiety and death of the two youngest children. Both examples illustrate the negative consequences alienation and neglect has on children.
Negligent Mothers and their Effects on their Children in Metamorphosis and Six Characters in Search of an Author Traditionally, mothers have been the nurturers and caregivers in the home. It is typically a mother’s role to raise the child, while the father or paternal figure would be the foremost or sole breadwinner for the familial unit. Both...
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