The tone, setting, and characters of Franz Kafka’s “The metamorphosis” can be seen as similar to those aspects in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” In both of these stories, there are two different people who are living their lives very much alike, and they both die all alone.
The tone of “Metamorphosis” is similar to the tone of “A Rose for Emily.”Gregor and Miss Emily are both isolated and alienated. The narrator says that Gregor has an “exhausting profession” as a traveling salesman. Gregor rides on a train all of the time for his work. He meets new people, but he has no affection for them. Gregor does not spend a lot of time with his family. The narrator is showing that Gregor is isolated and feels alienated from his family because he is working all the time to support his family. The narrator shows this by the other salesmen that Gregor sees at the “pension” having breakfast. Gregor states that he would “like to see what would happen if he were to try that out with his director sometime.” The narrator is implying that Gregor wants to be like the other salesman but he cannot because his boss would not allow it. Gregor always keeps his door locked whether he is traveling or at home. The narrator states, that Gregor uses “precaution” by “locking every door at night,” regardless if he is at “home or traveling.” The narrator says that Gregor’s father gave him a “truly liberating kick” back into his room and “Battered shut” the door with his cane. “Raindrops could be heard plunking against the tin window-ledges made Gregor quite melancholy.” The word “melancholy” denotes sadness or depression of sprits; gloom. Then when he wakes up as a cockroach, he is locked in his room. Gregor is isolated from his dad, mom, and sister Grete because they locked him in his bedroom at the end of the story. Miss Emily chooses to isolate herself from the townspeople by shutting her door and not let anyone in for long “periods of time.” She is alienated because her father was so strict about whom she could date, and this affected her as she got older. The narrator states, “We remember all the young men her father had driven away, and we knew that with nothing left, she would have to cling to that which had robbed her, as people will.” The narrator says, “And that was the last we saw of Miss Emily for some time. The Negro man went in and out with the market basket, but the front door remained closed. Now and then we would see her at a window for a moment, as the men did that night when they sprinkled the lime, but for almost six months she did not appear on the streets.” The narrator states that the townspeople expected this of Miss Emily by saying, “Then we knew that this was to be expected too; as if that quality of her father which had thwarted her woman’s life so many times had been too virulent and too furious to die.” The townspeople isolate Miss Emily because she dates Homer Barron, a Yankee who is a day laborer. The narrator says, “Poor Emily, she carried her head high enough-even when we believed that she was fallen. It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness.” The narrator is saying that Miss Emily, being of a prominent family, has behavior that is abnormal for southern people, and that she is “reaffirm her imperviousness.” The denotation of “imperviousness” is not capable of being affected or disturbed. The narrator is saying that Miss Emily is not affected by what the townspeople think of her. In reality, she is affected by this because she isolates herself from the townspeople.
The setting of “The Metamorphosis” is similar to the setting of “A Rose for Emily.” Kafka describes the setting in “The Metamorphosis” as most of the action takes place in Gregor’s bedroom. Gregor lives with his father, mother and sister in a large apartment in the city. From Gregor’s bedroom window he sees a busy street and a hospital across the street. But as the story goes on, his vision gets “fuzzier,” he might think that he lives in a “wasteland where the grey sky merges indistinguishably with the grey earth.” The narrator states that Gregor’s bedroom is dirty and dusty. No one goes in and cleans it anymore after the family locks Gregor in his room the last time. Then he dies there in his bedroom all alone. At the end of the story Gregor’s father, mother and sister take a carriage out to the country and the sun is shining brightly.
In the story of “A Rose for Emily,” the narrator describes the setting taking place at Miss Emily’s “big, squarish framed house” that sets on a “select street” in Jefferson. The outside of the house is “decorated with cupolas, spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies.”There was opening to a cellar where the “Board of Aldermen;” there are four them, they sprinkle lime to take care of the “smell of the house” after Miss Emily’s father died. The house is old and run down; for this reason, the narrator calls it is an “eyesore, among eyesores.” Unlike Gregor, the townspeople gave Miss Emily a funeral, which takes place at her house. The narrator states that the “funeral on the second day, with the town coming to look at Miss Emily beneath a mass of bought flowers, with the crayon face of her father” a picture she had painted about the bier and “the ladies sibilant and macabre: and the very old men-some in their brushed Confederate uniforms-on the porch and the law, talking of Miss Emily as if she had been a contemporary of theirs, believing that they had danced with her and courted her perhaps confusing time with it mathematical progression, as the old do to who all the past is not a diminishing road, but instead a hug meadow which no winter ever quite touches, divide from them now by the narrow bottleneck of the most recent decade of years.” The narrator states that there is “one room upstairs which no one had seen in forty year,” and which would have to be forced open. They waited until Miss Emily was in the ground before opening the room upstairs. This room was like a “tomb” just like Gregor’s bedroom that he died in. The narrator describes the room as it is filled with “pervading dust. A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal.” Then the narrator says that they found a “man himself lay in the bed” and “what was left of him, rotted beneath what, was left of the nightshirt.” Then they “notice on the second pillow was the indentation of a head” and “a long strand of iron-gray hair.”
The character of Gregor in “The Metamorphosis” is similar to the character of Miss Emily in “A Rose for Emily” because they are both isolated, both don’t communicate, and both die alone. The narrator states at the beginning of the story, Gregor is busy working all the time as traveling salesman, to support the family. Because of his work he does not communicate with his family. He is also isolated because; he wakes up as cockroach, He doesn’t speak human language now so he can’t communicate with his family or work. The narrator explains if Gregor “had been able to speak to his sister and to thank her for everything she had to do for him, he would have found it a little easier to submit to her ministration; but, as it was, he suffered from them.” He is also, isolated because his family keeps driving him back into his room. The narrator illustrates this in the beginning of the story by “his father was moving forward implacably, emitting hissing sounds like a savage. Gregor had no practice in moving backwards, and he was moving, it had to be said, extremely slowly. If he had been able to turn round, he would have been back in his room in little or no time, but he was afraid lest the delay incurred in turning around would make his father impatient. And at any monument the stick in his father’s hand threatened to strike him a fatal blow to the back of the head.” Miss Emily is isolated likewise, she very seldom goes out of her house, and the townspeople rarely come to visit Miss Emily and she does talk to them at times. The narrator states, “From that time on her front door remained closed, save for a period of six or seven years, when she was about forty, during which she gave lessons in china painting. Gregor and Miss Emily both die alone. Gregor at the end of the story; comes out of his room for the last time, scares all the people there. Now he feels bad for what he did, and he returns back to his bedroom. He has not eaten for days now and he lays there on the floor and dies all alone. The narrator points this out by saying, “He remained in this condition of empty and peaceful reflection until the church clock struck three a.m. The last thing he saw was the sky gradually lightening outside his window. Then his head involuntarily dropped, and his final breath passed feebly from his nostrils.” Miss Emily dies alone in alike manner as Gregor did. The narrator indicates this in the beginning of the story and he says, “The women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of her house, which no one save an old man-servant-a combined gardener and cook-had seen in at least ten years.”
Therefore, in the story of “The Metamorphosis” Kafka demonstrates a sad story of how a man became a cockroach for no known reason. He demonstrations how badly his family treated him after he became a cockroach. Now his family alienated and isolated him by locking him into his room and leaving him to die all alone. Then, they took a trip out to see the county because they did not have the burden of Gregor anymore. This is like they were celebrating his death. How strange is that? In the story of “A Rose for Emily” Faulkner demonstrations a sad story of how a southern woman’s raising by a strict father causes her to be alienated for the rest of her life. He shows this by going back and forth in time with how the townspeople isolated and alienated Miss Emily at different stages of life. Then when she dies all alone, the townspeople are there because they want to look at the room, which had been locked up for about forty years. Faulkner leaves the townspeople with the thought that Miss Emily had been laying in the bed with a corpse and with her irony-gray hair left for them to see. How crazy is that to lay in the bed with a corpse?