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Metamorphosis Essay

1369 words - 6 pages

Franz Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis, is a novella about Gregor Samsa, a man who devotes everything to fulfilling the needs of his family. Kafka’s existentialist perspective on the meaning of life is illustrated through the use of the protagonist of Gregor Samsa. Existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility (Existentialism). Gregor is unable to fulfill the existentialist view of finding meaning in one’s life; he acted according to what his family wanted. Kafka’s belief that there is no meaning to life and that the individual has to create his own meaning in life is entirely missed by Gregor. Kafka uses the juxtaposing mindsets of Gregor and his family members to express the importance of an individual fulfilling his own needs.
The protagonist of Gregor is meant to resemble Franz Kafka. Out of sense of duty to his parents, Kafka took jobs that he did not enjoy. His relationship with his father remained strained throughout his life; his father’s impact can be seen in much of Kafka’s writing (Kafka Birthday: A Letter From Franz Kafka To His Father). Gregor’s relationship with his father is similar to Kafka’s relationship with his father. For most of Kafka’s life, he did not live to fulfill his own needs; Kafka was living under his father’s expectations. He was under enormous pressure to become a successful businessman like his father, but Kafka had a profound love for literature which went against his father mindset; hence, the strained relationship between Kafka and his father (Kafka Birthday: A Letter From Franz Kafka To His Father). Franz Kafka had two younger brothers, Georg and Heinrich; unfortunately they both died leaving Kafka as the only son (Kafka.org). Kafka being the only living son caused for him to have to take the brunt of his father’s tyrannical and domineering presence. Kafka has lived with the inability to make choices that benefit his life, his dad made all the choices for him. He knows the feeling that an individual gets when he or she is not living to bring meaning into their lives.
Through Gregor, Kafka demonstrates the dehumanization of individuals, Gregor works at a job that consumes his thoughts and passions. He illustrates how humans toil ceaselessly and give themselves up to boring routines that don’t bring any meaning to the individual’s life. Gregor flashback’s to a time before his metamorphosis, when he worked with a “special intensity” (Kafka 43) in order to provide for the family, all the while ignoring his own needs. Kafka knows the affect that doing something that one does not enjoy can have on every aspect of that person’s life. He was forced to work at jobs that he did not want to, his dissatisfaction with the direction his life was headed caused him to have suicidal thoughts (Franz Kafka-Biography). Kafka knows the dangers of not living to bring meaning into one’s life and uses Gregor to illustrate this to the audience....

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