Themes in Frank Kafka's “Metamorphosis”
Franz Kafka's “Metamorphosis” is a story about a man who awakes one morning to find himself transformed into a giant bug. This metamorphosis causes a clash between the main character Gregor Samsa and his family which in turn creates major changes in all characters. Kafka utilizes many themes in the story including change, isolation, power and money. These themes aid in making the story vague, while retaining a sense of lucidity. One main theme in the story is change. Gregor Samsa's reality changes only mildly, despite his radical physical transformation. Prior to his mutation, Gregor’s life was consumed with his work as a traveling salesman in addition to taking care of his family. A boring life, dominated by providing for his family, much like a bug provides for his nest or hive. He describes his life as "the plague of traveling: the anxieties of changing trains, the irregular, inferior meals, the ever changing faces, never to be seen again, people with whom one has no chance to be friendly" (Kafka 13). The real metamorphosis occurs when he realizes his present situation, and his role in his household. Gregor does not change into a bug; he simply recognizes that he has been one for quite some time. This sudden epiphany could certainly send him into a shock that causes a mental sickness, eventually leading to his death. From the very beginning the setting creates an atmosphere of isolation, a major theme in the story. “Gregor’s room is at the center of the Samsa family’s apartment, with one wall facing the outside, the opposite wall bordering on the living room, and the two side walls shared with the bedroom of Gregor’s parents and his sister respectively. Each of these walls has an egress onto the world: the outside wall has a window, and the other walls have doors leading to the adjacent rooms. These doors, however – and in particular the double-door that opens into the living room – are not simple entranceways...
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