Metamorphosis Literary Theory essay

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Analyzing the plight of Gregor Samsa with Literary Theories: Biographical, Marxist, and Deconstruction One of the great novella’s of the twentieth century, Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” demonstrates the plight of our protagonist Gregor Samsa and his transformation into a beetle and his response to such adversity. As a traveling salesman, Gregor must work not only to support himself but the rest of family as well. To understand the density of the novella we must employ the use of literary theories. The literary theories that aided in my understanding of the work include biographical, Marxist, and deconstruction theories.

A biographical analysis of Kafka’s masterpiece allows the audience to understand the many of the relationships and themes that reoccur throughout the novella. Kafka’s relationship with his father is mirrored throughout the novel. As a child, Kafka feared his father who could best be characterized as a blue-collar businessman. Hard-nosed and rugged his father believed that strength and athleticism were the traits that defined men. Inversely, Kafka was bookish and weak. His father constantly called him “over-clever” and “over-sensitive” slowly chipping away at his humanity. Kafka later wrote “Letter to my Father” where he begins by claiming, “Dearest father you once asked me why I maintain I am afraid of you” and later went into great detail discussing the way in which his father “robbed him of the capacity to stand up to life” and convinced him he was worthless. The story mirrors this flawed relationship as Kafka portrays the character of the father as an unkind and bitter man. As a man who’s business had completely failed, forcing Gregor to not only pay off his fathers debts but work to support his entire family, the father is still cynical and insensitive towards Gregor just as Kafka’s father was towards him. Specifically, the only times in the novel where there is direct contact between the father and Gregor both end



Cited: Delahoyde, Michael, Dr. "Kafka." Kafka. Washington State University, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. . Fitzgerald, Connor. "Analysis of the Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka." Yahoo Contributor Network. Yahoo!, 18 Apr. 2007. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. . Kafka, Franz, and A. L. Lloyd. Metamorphosis. New York: Vanguard, 1946. Print. Sexton, Timothy. "Analysis of the Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka." Yahoo Contributor Network. Yahoo!, 17 July 2007. Web. 10 Feb. 2014. .

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