Gregor Samsa and the Old Man

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The Dominant Role of Society Often times, literatures depict the notion of society’s overwhelming authority and influence towards individuals who contradicts the ‘accepted’ norm. “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka and Gabriel Marquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” for instance, illustrate the inferiority and the undeniable cruelty the two protagonists receive from society as a result of their conditions. Gregor Samsa and the Old man are parallel characters, whose fates are thrown into an environment where society’s authority serves as a major factor in both their struggle to attain acceptance. Both the protagonists ‘unusual’ appearance sprouts discrimination from society, which enables negative interactions from other individuals. Likewise, society’s abandonment of Gregor and the Old man, despite their generosity, serves as major influences to their struggles to attain acceptance. Although Gregor Samsa and the Old man’s existence prove to be a factor that contributes to the tranquility of other individuals living, both protagonists still experiences neglect and abandonment from society, despite their numerous contributions. In the case of “The Metamorphosis” for instance, Gregor Samsa’s decision to allow his passions to remain in the shadows while he continues to pursue a “strenuous profession”(Kafka 394), in which he perceives as a burden, proves his selfless character as only centralizing towards his family’s wellbeing. However, despite his contributions to his family’s tranquil life, his transformation into an awful ‘vermin’ sprouts disgust and hate, leading to his family overlooking all his hard work. The text states, “I shouldn’t give up hope altogether: once I have the money to pay off my parents’ debt – it should be another five or six years—I’ll definitely do it. Then I’ll make my big break” (394). Apart from Gregor’s desire to provide a comfortable living for his family, he also longs for freedom and independency, in


Bibliography: Hamermesh, S Daniel. “Ugly? You may Have a case”. New York Times 27 Aug. 2011: 1. Print. Kafka, Franz. “The Metamorphosis”. Literature. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2002. 393-423. Print. Marquez, Garcia Gabriel. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. Literature. 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2002. 324-328. Print.

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