Franz Kafka ” The Metamorphosis”
THE METAMORPHOSIS BY FRANZ KAFKA.
The metamorphosis is a tale by Franz Kafka about a terrible fate suffered by Gregor Samsa one morning that changes all their lives completely. Gregor is a sales person whose career involves a lot of traveling and a few enemies. Gregor has to take the early morning train at seven to arrive at work in time. He misses the train that prompts the manager to come looking for him under the pretense of accusations laid to him by a colleague. Gregor on the other hand wakes up like a real human size bug. This circumstance greatly confuses Gregor to a point where he decides to sleep in the hope of waking up from the horrible dream. He eventually has to live with the change and tries to confront the manager who in turn flees the building in horror. Gregor being the breadwinner puts the family in a peculiar position with very limited resources. The tale shows a very explicit reality of events that we can’t control taking over our lives and thus leaving us helpless in tackling them. Gregor seems to have a problem letting people help him which acts as a disadvantage on his side given the peril he is in.
The tale invokes a lot of thought on the theme of change and the institution of the family. The title metamorphosis clearly represents a change Gregor’s life that in turn forces the whole family to change and adapt into. The institution of the family is also tested due to the status Gregor occupies. He is a son and a brother that signify blood bonds that are truly shown by the support the family avail to him. The transition is the most important part of the tale and how the characters deal with it.
THE THEME OF CHANGE.
Change can be described as the difference, positive or negative, on something or someone over a specific period. The most obvious change in the tale happens between nightfall and morning when Gregor Samsa is transformed into a human-sized bug. He loses the ability to go to work, explain his lateness to his manager and help out with the family’s problems. Gregor changes from the breadwinner to a liability within a few hours which prompts the family to take matters into their hands. The father, mother and sister all have to get employed to sustain their daily expenses. This change ultimately leads to the characters undergoing their changes to adapt to the new environment they woke up in.
The death of the bug Gregor can also be identified as another major change in the tale. The family gets relief from the burden that Gregor, the bug, had turned out to be. The night he died, Grete, his sister compares the old Gregor who would has identified the burden he has become and would leave on his own and reduce the family’s suffering, with the bug Gregor who does the exact opposite. The death of Gregor gives the father enough courage to show the body of their dead bug son to the Lodgers family and evict them from their house. His death reflects a new beginning for the whole family.
There is also a change in the emotions expressed by the family during the tale. At first, they are disgusted and fear bug Gregor but eventually accept him and require the maid to oath no to tell on their big secret. After some time, the family begins to loath the creature given that it has also changed from the good-natured Gregor to a selfish one. Eventually, after Gregor dies, they express great relief and happiness as they contemplate their new future.
The growth of Grete into a young adult woman. This, the parents identify at the end due to the death of Gregor. They can identify the change in her physical form and her maturity after caring for Gregor for a while. She represents the new and only hope the parents are left with in having a good future with finding her a good husband growing in their thoughts. They are also able to think eventually of moving out of the large expensive house that Gregor had rented without worrying about him. They had held on to the house despite having the option of moving him in a box drilled with many holes for ventilation.
THE THEME OF FAMILY.
Family as an institution forms the most important support unit any person needs. The importance of family is carefully illustrated in the tale as the ever loving and supportive people in every person’s life who stick by you no matter the storm. Gregor can support his family alone which gives them a lot of time to invest in their talent such as Grete’s violin. He also wants to take her to the conservatory despite the large expense it would bring to him. When the manager shows up at their doorstep, the parents try to explain his behavior in a bid to calm the manager and save Gregor’s job. It later emerges that he’s contribution and part of the money from his failed business venture can sustain the family for two years. These he all achieves as a member of the family unit. He is so worried about what will happen to his family that in that early morning, he forgets temporarily his predicament and tries to get dressed to go to work and also tries to explain himself to the manager in a bid to save his job. His family’s financial problems also represent the only reason he has not quit his current job despite loathing it.
Grete also displays a lot of support and love to bug Gregor. She cleans his room and feeds him despite not knowing the type of food he prefers. She places a wide range and cares for him holding out that one day the predicament he faces will end and she would get her brother back. Grete and Gregor are quite close and she immediately starts sobbing when she realizes he may not be feeling well. When she performs for the Lodgers, Gregor has to fight the urge to attack them due to their dismissive behavior they exhibit. He tries to show his recognition and admiration for Grete’s talent. He risks all just to get a good glimpse of her music.
The family had an option of moving to another cheaper and smaller apartment but opt to stay in the current one Gregor rented. His mother also shows hesitation to move his shelves and materials where she reveals a small hope of reuniting with him again. The family tries their best to accommodate him despite being a bug.
Gregor had little control over his actions after turning into a giant bug. He is described as antisocial given his lack of a social life clearly shown by his mother lamenting his lack of getting out more at night. The tale seeks to show us the importance of holding the important things and memories we have because change is inevitable. The type of change we have to experience may leave us helpless as Gregor was, and the world would still move on. Having a complete life should be every person’s goals and motivation. Some changes happen drastically and without our control or consent and thus, the saying enjoy it while it lasts.
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