Honors Topics in Lit
26 September 2013
Alienation of Gregor
Franz Kafka’s use of social commentary in the novella The Metamorphosis illuminates destructive effects of alienation through Gregor’s life before and after his transformation into a monstrous vermin and the reactions of his family members on his new body. When Gregor’s body, once a normal humanly figure, begins to change, he finds no purpose to his being as he is incapable of moving out of bed for work. In addition to his body transformation, Gregor also begins to lose his sense of humanity in result of his weakening relationships between his family members. Even before the metamorphosis occurs, Kafka shows Gregor’s feeling of being distanced from his family when he reflects on his life as a traveling salesman.
Kafka brings about a sense of Gregor’s imprisonment from the outside world when Gregor comes to realization that he is no longer capable of carrying out his normal human routine. At first, Gregor starts to worry about being late for work and as time goes on he realizes that his body is no longer human. Gregor’s absurd sense of neglect of his transformation helps prove that he is now living a pointless life of a bug. Kafka also points out to the reader that since Gregor can no longer serve and protect his family by paying off their debt, Gregor is exiled in his room, imprisoned from society. Kafka shows this theme of isolation when Gregor “[crawls] up the window sill and, propped up in the chair, [leaning] against the window, evidently in some sort of remembrance of the feeling of freedom he used to have from looking out the window” (Kafka 28). Not only does Gregor’s new body out cast him from society, but his family also neglects him in their normal routine. Gregor and his family become increasingly distant from each other as his family members leave him locked in his room when he transforms into an evil insect. The theme of alienation shines true when Gregor’s mother is not...
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