Metamorphisis Essay, Research Paper
Metamorphosis: 20th Century Alienation
Gregor Samsa, the main character in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, wakes up one morning to find himself as a large unappealing bug. Through symbolism, Kafka creates a totally new story out of The Metamorphosis. He actually is not a bug. Being a bug just symbolizes individual alienation. The part of him being the bug indicates his separation from the rest of the world. Just like bugs, Gregor tries to succeed in going on with his own business.
After Gregor’s “transformation”, the only thing that he worried about was his job. Take an ant for example. When you take an ant and move him somewhere else, the only thing it worries about is how to get from location A to B. The same thing is happening with Gregor. He just wants to get to the train so he won’t be late for work. Why is this so? A train leaving him behind is like, the twentieth century changing in it’s own way.
Kafka uses the number three to symbolize that people are less needed in today’s society. Gregor has three lodgers working there, three servants, three family members, three windows, three doors, three sections to his body, and he talks about being late to three trains. Now when you would ask a person, what they think of when they hear the number three? They would reply death. A phenomena about death says that people die in threes. By relating three to death, Kafka is implying that people are being taken over by something.
Long ago men worked together more than they do now. Take the Egyptians for example. They all worked together to hoist stones up hills. This operation later became known to us as the great pyramids of Egypt. Today only a few people would be needed to create another pyramid, thanks to the help of machinery. Instead of thousands to help build, maybe a few engineers and some constructors could do the job. This only shows us that we are now less dependent on others and more dependent on machines. Soon machines will take over all of human kind, just because we will become useless.
With technology of today people don’t even have to go anywhere for war. With one hit of a button, destruction will be all that is left. Again referring to the past, wars were fought with hand to hand combat. Take the medieval battles for example. Tons of men with swords on horses would defend and fight one another. In today’s society, there is no need for swords or horses. One machine, like a tank, could replace both of those. This could also relate to Gregor being a bug. Since we don’t need animals to do labor for us, why don’t we just kill them? Hey they take up room that is needed for machines. This is why Kafka has Gregor die in the story.
Gregor had the job with his father’s creditor, before even consulting his family. They, at the time, were of course impressed. Gregor chose the flat they were living in. Making enough money, he hired a cook and servant. He was even thinking of sending Grete to the conservatorium to further enhance what he believed to be musical talents. Even after his metamorphosis, he never asked for much. Showing his concern for others’ wellbeing, he hid under the couch so as not to disgust anyone by his sight. Although they brought him food everyday, he barely ate any of it. He even wished he were not such a burden on the family, and that he could have transformed back into his old self. Gregor is obviously very unselfish and carrying for others. So when he is a bug and “useless”, people just ignore what he has done for all of them.
Being a “human” bug is obviously a minority between others in the story. Gregor is all fine one day, helping out his family, but the next day he turns into a bug. Being a bug, his family almost ignores his existence. The family moves on with their lives, with no apparent loss to them. This is like real life out in our society of the twentieth century. If a guy gets into some kind of an accident and is paralyzed or something, people would try to avoid being around that person, because it would be a hassle dealing with him. This puts the minorities into some kind of isolationism or alienism, just like it did with Gregor. Alienation is abundant in the twentieth century, especially on this campus. The different-people (minorities), which are referred to as “bugs” in this story, always seem to hang out with each other. Since there are not any other bugs in The Metamorphosis, Kafka makes Gregor feel lonely.
Seclusion is one of the main points that Kafka creates in the story. With all the alienation symbolism that is portrayed, it is obviously a link to our century. If you look around you will see it. Even making a spelling error in this paper. It is no longer required to ask somebody how to spell a word. Our computers or machines have begun their first level of vanishment to our people.