Language A: Literature
The Written Assignment
Alienation and Isolation in The Metamorphosis
Word Count: 1480
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a reflection on how alienation and isolation begin and develop in a society by employing the characters in his novella as a representation of society as a whole. Using Gregor’s manager to demonstrate the initiation of isolation and alienation of a person, Gregor as the person being isolated and the inhabitants of the Samsa household as the other members of society, Kafka creates an effective model to represent the hierarchically structured effect of isolationism and alienation in society on a larger scale.
Kafka uses the company Gregor is forced to work for to illustrate the hierarchical effect of isolation and alienation, where the initiation of isolationism begins at the top of the hierarchy and thus creates a ripple effect down through the rest of society. The manager of the company that Gregor must work for due to a family debt is the representative Kafka chooses to demonstrate the most important person in the hierarchy. By waking up as an insect and being late for work, Gregor has broken his conformity to the parameters of what is tolerated by the company, so the manager himself comes to deal with the issue since such circumstances can “only be entrusted to the intelligence of the manager” (Kafka, 13). This, as well as how the family treats the manager as nicely as possible when he arrives demonstrates the importance of the manager’s decisions and their respect for authority. Further demonstrating the importance of his decisions, the manager is the first to react to Gregor’s transformation by threatening, “your position is not at all the most secure” (17) when Gregor will not open his door. This shows that he has the ability to completely disrupt Gregor’s place in the hierarchy and in doing so, isolate and alienate him from the rest of society. The manager remarks, “that was an animal’s...
Cited: Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Ian Johnstone. Nanaimo: Malaspina University-College, 1999.
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