Metamorphosis Essay, Research Paper
Gregor s Struggle
In his short story, The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka shows a man s struggle to find the meaning of life. This story starts out with Gregor, the main character, awaking from unsettling dreams to find himself changed into a monstrous vermin. Because of this transformation, Gregor s life is changed. No matter how hard he tries, Gregor can no longer lead a normal life after his metamorphosis. Franz Kafka uses Gregor s self-esteem, his desire for human contact, and his relationship with others to display his struggle to find the meaning of life in The Metamorphosis.
One of the ways that Kafka shows Gregor s struggle is by displaying his self-esteem. Since Gregor was working to support his family as well as to pay off his parents debt, he felt good about himself. Kafka describes this feeling by saying that Gregor felt very proud that he had been able to provide such a life in so nice an apartment for his parents and his sister (122). By saying this, Kafka presents Gregor as a proud individual. However, Kafka also portrays Gregor as someone with low self-esteem. When Kafka says that Gregor s boss sits on the desk and talks down from the heights to the employees (4), he suggests that Gregor feels like less of a person than his boss. After Gregor s metamorphosis, he loses his confidence and slowly deteriorates to death. Gregor s self-esteem is just one of the things Kafka uses to guide the reader through this story.
Another point that Kafka talks about is Gregor s desire for human contact. After his change, Gregor is often neglected by his family. At one point Gregor settled into position right by the living-room door, determined somehow to get the hesitating visitor to come in (22). Kafka points out that Gregor desperately wanted someone to come in his room. Since Gregor is locked in his room all by himself, he often tries to listen to what others are saying outside his room. Kafka demonstrates this point by saying that Gregor would immediately run to the door concerned and press his whole boy against it (26) in order to hear his family s conversation. Through his desire for human contact, Gregor continues to find the meaning of life. However, the most important point in this story is not Gregor s self-esteem or his desire for human contact.
The most important point in this story is Gregor s relationship with others. Throughout the story, Kafka compares Gregor s relationship with his parents and his relationship with his sister, Grete. After his metamorphosis, Gregor and his father did not get along very well. When Gregor first turned into a beetlelike insect, his father s first reaction was to drive him back into his room, Pitilessly his father came on, hissing like a wild man (19). Though Gregor s father didn t care much for him anymore, his sister, Grete, was still there for him. Everyday Grete would bring food to Gregor s room. The first time she brought him food, he rejected it. Therefore, to find out what he likes and dislikes, She brought him a wide assortment of things, all spread out on an old newspaper (24). While Grete was bringing Gregor food, his parents were too disgusted to go in his room.
Franz Kafka uses Gregor s self-esteem, his desire for human contact, and his relationship with others to display his struggle to find the meaning of life in The Metamorphosis. After his transformation, Gregor s self-esteem showed that he did not think much of himself. His desire for human contact was never fulfilled, because he was constantly neglected by his family. His relationship with his family members changed, and he was never able to be part of the family again. As the story ends, Gregor dies not being able to find any meaning in life.