In Harold Ramis’s film, “Groundhog Day” and Franz Kafka’s story, “The Metamorphosis”, both main characters are faced with a life-changing event because of the way they live their lives. In Groundhog Day the main character Phil is an arrogant, sarcastic weatherman absorbed in his own discomforts, without hope, and cut off from other people. He is forced to relive the same day, groundhogs day, over and over again. In “The Metamorphosis the main character is Gregor Samsa, a man who spends his time working to pay off a debt for his father. Gregor wakes up to find that he has turned into a beetle. Throughout these two works the main characters try to go back to living their life as before not realizing that this is their second chance at life to make things right. Phil manages to do so only by breaking through and becoming a person of intimacy, creativity and compassion which sets him free from his exile of living in the same day over and over again. As for Gregor, going from someone everyone depends on to something no one wants to care for, he doesn’t get a chance to have everything go back to normal. He dies and his family, for once, is relieved.
Groundhog Day lets us experience what it would be like to make a breakthrough like this in our own lives. The movie shows us a character that is like the worst in ourselves. Like us, he finds himself in an inexplicable situation, something like fate. But, unlike us, he gets the luxury of being stuck in the same day until he gets it right. Where most of us go semi-automatically through most of our days, he is forced to stop and treat each day like a world onto itself, and decide how to use it. In the end, he undergoes a breakthrough to a more authentic self in which intimacy, creativity and compassion come naturally - a self that was trapped inside him and that could only be freed by trapping him. Like many of
the heroes of fiction, he can only escape his exile from himself by being exiled in a situation not of his...
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