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The Outsider by Albert Camus and Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: Similarities

By ibcheats Jan 11, 2012 523 Words
Comparing Metamorphosis to The Outsider
The Outsider, by Albert Camus, and Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, are similar in many respects. The protagonist in The Outsider, Meursault, and the protagonist in Metamorphosis, Gregor are very similar. In the introductions of both stories, we get a glimpse at what the is like for them and their families: both are faced with kin that can be viewed in a negative light. After morphing into a bug overnight, Gregor is met with a family that is reproached by his transformation and his mere presence brings dramatic emotional trauma to his family member. Gregor refuses the open the door to his family when they are outside of his bedroom door. This shows the readers that Gregor is uncomfortable with showing his family what has become of him. We see that Gregor is not fazed by the transformation due to Kafka’s description of his setting rather than emphasizing the fact that he is indeed a bug. The fact that he is unwilling to open the door for his family states that Gregor and his family must not have a close emotional bond between them, for we see Gregor’s fear in exposing himself. Meursealt’s day begins with him receiving a telegram pronouncing his mother’s death. It is the first sentence, making it blunt. Meursealt’s lack of reaction to this statement shows that his ties with his family are little to nonexistent. Both characters are in a situation where they are dependent upon themselves only, and do not have family members which they can count on being there for them. Gregor and Meusealt’s stories are different in the way that we can sympathize with Gregor’s situation but not Meursealt’s. Meursealt does not seem to show any remorse about his mother’s death, which ignites questioning feelings within the reader: what type of son doesn’t care that his blood has passed away? As readers, we feel no empathy for the suffering that he may be feeling because of his lack of concern for those he is socially expected to love. However, in Gregor’s case we feel extremely bad for his situation. His family is seemingly concerned for him, but Gregor’s fear to open the door is apparent, causing anticipation for what will likely next occur. Gregor has a bond with his family, yet we know that the feelings must not be reciprocated or his fear would not have surfaced. Another reason we are able to feel concern with Gregor and not Meursealt is because Gregor has not willingly attempted to sever his family ties, whereas in Meuresealt’s case we are lead to believe that the disintegration of a family tie between him and his mother was solely his fault. A difference between the two stories’ introduction is that in Metamorphosis there is active anticipation to what will happen next. The plot thus far has moved slowly and to see what will happen when Gregor finally reveals himself will be an adventure in itself whereas Meurseault’s story doesn’t’ seem to be heading in any particular direction. Word Count: 500

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