Discuss symbolism in Kafka’s Metamorphosis. What does he seek to convey through the use of symbols in his work?
In Franz Kafka's novel, Metamorphosis, a man awakens from sleep to find out he’s been transmogrified into a grotesque vermin, a cockroach the size of a human being. Gregor Samsa, the breadwinner of the family realizes his services towards his family were never really appreciated when he metamorphoses. The attitude of his father, mother and sister go some degrees cooler until through detection, disgust and fear exhibited by his family, he goes on a ‘hunger strike’ and dies. In this novella, Kafka puts across divisive matters in this novella by putting in a lot of symbols to disguise the true meaning of the novella.
The first symbol in this novella is the cockroach or vermin the main character, Gregor Samsa turns into. A cockroach is a despicable creature which spreads diseases. In the novella, after Gregor has been turned into one, his family’s attitude changes towards him change. By making Gregor metamorphose into a cockroach, Kafka has put him down in the social ladder, Gregor is now on the lowest rung of the social ladder and one could almost compare the reactions of his family to him to people’s reactions to a deformed person or thing. The transformation of an able-bodied man into an almost incompetent vermin; from a quite liked person to a despised insect symbolises. He even seems like a dirty family secret or a skeleton in their closet.
The door in his room is another fascinating symbol. It is absurd as when Gregor was human, he kept his door locked and people wanted to come in to his room, yet when he metamorphose, and his door is always opened no one wants to come in. it is as if his ‘despicable’ self is a hindrance to his family and society as a whole. The door therefore can symbolize a hindrance or an obstacle. It is also absurd how a door is meant for people or things to use to use as an exit and entrance. Yet, Gregor sits in his...
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