Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is a masterfully written novella about Gregor Samsa, a man who devotes his life to his family and work, for nothing in return. Only when he is transformed into a helpless beetle does he begin to develop a self-identity and understand the relationships around him. The underlying theme of The Metamorphosis is an existential one that says that any given choice will govern the later course of a person’s life and that a person has ultimate will over making choices. In this case, Gregor’s choices of his part in society cause him to have a lack of identity that has made him to be numb to everything around him.
One morning Gregor awakens to find himself transformed into a beetle. Although the reader is never enlightened on how Gregor morphed into a beetle, or shown that Gregor gives much thought to having a body of an insect, Kafka gives the strong impression that Gregor is very devoted to his work and is the sole support of the family, none of which work themselves. Gregor devotes himself to a life of work and self-sacrifice, “[d]ay in, day out- on the road” (Kafka 4), following ever order, and expectation to a scurrilous degree. His life could be linked to that of a drone in an ant colony, and thus gives an explanation to Kafka’s logic when he is transformed into an insect, and thinks nothing of it. In fact upon finding himself transformed he immediately prioritizes his work above everything else;
The next train left at seven o’clock; to make it, he would have to hurry like a madman, and the line of samples wasn’t packed yet, and he himself didn’t feel especially fresh and ready to march around. (5) Through his transformation into a beetle, Gregor abandons his mislead obligation to society and instead devotes the rest of his life to himself. Because of this Gregor’s family quickly grows to resent him as a burden to the household. Society and his family had no further use for him, so Gregor starves to death is his...
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