What do the novels “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka and “The Outsider” by Albert Cammus say about social conformity?
“Metamorphosis” is a novel written by Franz Kafka in 1912. It is set at an unknown European city at the same time it was published It narrates the story of a typical salesman of in an industrialized society who wakes up one morning transformed into a giant cockroach. The novel tells about how his family deals with this event, and how Gregor (the salesman) eventually dies. “The outsider” is also a short novel written by Albert Cammus in 1944. It tells the story of Meursault, a bachelor clerk who lives in Algiers. It is also set at the time the novel was written. Meursault gets involved into a violent argument between a friend of his and an Arab, and ends up killing the Arab. This makes him go to trial and be sentenced to death. The theme of “Metamorphosis” is a criticism of how an industrialized modern society affects the way citizens live. The Author criticises how this new formed society dehumanises a common working class individual, making him loose every human trait he has. Kafka chooses to turn Gregor into a cockroach because his was of life is more like the one of an insect than of a man. On the other hand, the novel “The Outsider” is a criticism of the typical hypocrisy of the society, where people have to act according to social rules. Cammus point out how anyone who does not follow these rules is condemned by society, in this case Meursault. Both novels speak, in a way, about how the forces of social conformity affect individuals in a society. They do so by different ways though. In “metamorphosis” the protagonist is completely consumed by his profession. He is a slave to work and does not live a life of comfort at all. As his mother says so:
“That boy has nothing but work in his head!”
Gregor follows a boring life based only on work. He has to maintain his whole family on his own, and his family, although capacitated to work, will...
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