The Metamorphosis Essay, Research Paper They were clearing out his room; depriving him of everything that he loved; they had already carried away the chest of drawers, in which he kept the fretsaw and other tools; were now budging the desk firmly embedded in the floor, the desk he had done his homework on when he was a student at business college, in high school yes, even in public school now he really had no more time to examine the good intentions of the two women . . .
The Metamorphosis Essay, Research Paper
They were clearing out his room; depriving him of everything that he loved; they had already carried away the chest of drawers, in which he kept the fretsaw and other tools; were now budging the desk firmly embedded in the floor, the desk he had done his homework on when he was a student at business college, in high school yes, even in public school now he really had no more time to examine the good intentions of the two women . . . And so he broke out the women were just leaning against the desk in the next room to catch their breath for a minute changed his course four times, he really didn’t know what to salvage first, then he saw hanging conspicuously on the wall, which was otherwise bare already, the picture of the lady all dressed in furs, hurriedly crawled up on it and pressed himself against the glass, which gave a good surface to stick to and soothed his hot belly. At least no one would take away this picture, while Gregor completely covered it up (Kafka 35).
In Kafka’s The Metamorphosis it is possible to see the dehumanization of Gregor Samsa. Dehumanization can be caused by the loss of being independent. Whether it comes in the form of the loss of a bodily function, an amputation or a loss of sight, but in the case of Gregor Samsa it is caused by his metamorphosis from human to dung beetle. Before Gregor Samsa became a dung beetle he was a successful salesman. He was the provider and the leader of his family. His father’s business had failed, his mother didn’t work, and his sister was enrolled in school. When Gregor becomes a dung beetle he slowly loses his human characteristics. Immediately he lost the physical characteristics of a human, but he also slowly loses his senses of taste, pain, and the ability to speak. Not only did he lose these characteristics but he lost the one thing that fulfilled him, he lost the ability to be a salesman and the responsibilities of being the leader of the family. When Gregor’s sister begins to feed him he finds that the foods that were once delicious to him become repulsive. In the attached passage it is possible to see how the dehumanization of Gregor led him to hang on to simple items that most people might take for granted.
After Gregor’s metamorphosis his room is the only item that actually gives him some human feelings. He tried to eat human food but found that three day old cheese was more appetizing. He tried to talk to his family but found that his voice had also changed. Gregor’s sister, Grete began to take on Gregor’s responsibilities and now she took care of Gregor. She was the one who decided to take the furniture out of his room. Subconsciously she no longer viewed Gregor as her brother but as a large dung beetle. Before Gregor’s sister and mother began to remove the furniture from his room he was longing for more room because of his new animalistic yearnings to crawl. Once Gregor notices the furniture being removed piece by piece he realizes that each piece of furniture has his human sentiments attached to them. He begins to remember the desk where he had done his home work in college, high school, and public school. We all take for granted the simple characteristics and feelings that make us human. The picture that Gregor salvages probably meant nothing to Gregor when he was a working business man. He described it plainly as a “picture of the lady dressed in all furs”, but when he felt all his ties to humanity being loss it became extremely important and even comforting to Gregor.
Once Gregor became a dung beetle his family distanced themselves from him. They kept him locked up in his room, unable to come to terms to the fact that their son was now a beetle. They pretended as if he was not there and even rented out a room in their home and did not inform them about Gregor. It must have been hard for Gregor to hold on to his humanity and his family did not make it easy for him. He listened to them talk about him but no one talked to him except the housekeeper who yelled negative words at him. Gregor lost his human characteristics and his father became so ignorant to the fact that Gregor was still his son. He kept Gregor as a prisoner to his room and punished him for coming out. In one part of the book Gregor’s threw an apple into his back and it becomes embedded in Gregor’s back.
The dehumanization of Gregor Samsa although unrealistic is a lesson to be learned. It is absolutely devastating to lose the ability to be independent. People who become paraplegic or lose their eyesight, they too can become an animal because they feel as if they are no longer whole. Gregor’s family was ignorant to his feelings, his sister did not even realize that Gregor was trying to hold on to a piece of his human feelings. Gregor Samsa was a tragic case and example of a man that lost everything. He lost his job, family, and most important he lost his humanity.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. New York: Bantam Books 1980.
THE DEHUMANIZATION OF GREGOR SAMSAKaren Douglas
June 3, 1996
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. New York: Bantam Books 1980.
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