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Metamorphosis Essay

1533 words - 7 pages

The Metamorphosis is said to be one of Franz Kafka’s best works of literature. It shows the difficulties of living in a modern society and the struggle for acceptance of others in a time of need. From this story, one is able to infer that suffering is a necessary component of life. Gregor Samsa, the protagonist, was plagued with the metamorphosis that occurred one morning while he was awaking to prepare himself for work, as a traveling salesman. It is his metamorphosis that’ll set the ball rolling for post events that take place throughout the novel. In modern societies, one who usually feels an obligation to an unpleasant task and one who has others dependant on them often translate into the concept of them being those who have a sense of purpose. Hard work and self-sacrifice are two examples of what often enable us to have reverence and respect for people. It is almost as if it is a human need that makes one feel venerable. Part of Gregor’s reason for this need was because he needed to pay off his parent's debt; Kafka lets the readers understand this very quickly from the starting of the book. It is this need which was Gregor's motivation for pulling through a job which he despised so much. The metamorphosis has disabled him from fulfilling this particular need, and when he later hears of his family's decision that he is in no way a human being and must be gotten rid of, he realizes that this need will be unattainable forever, he then completely gives up on hope and dies. Kafka was able to portray these societal constructs of normality and venerability through his usages of motifs and centralized themes in order to dehumanize Gregor and force the rest of his family to undergo metamorphoses as well.
Using motifs in a piece of literary work refers to the repetition of specific themes or notions that may be dominating in a novel. The themes and notions behind money was one of the motifs that Kafka implemented. Because of the failure of Gregor’s father’s business and the debts that resulted, money was a chief concern for the Samsa family, and consequently it appeared as one of the frequent topics in Gregor’s thoughts and in the conversations of the family members. This quote, “And so he had begun to work with special ardor and had risen almost overnight form stock clerk to traveling salesman, which of course had opened up many money-making possibilities… those had been wonderful times, and they had never returned…” (Ch. 2 pg. 27) represents one of many that highlight the family’s concern with money. Gregor’s chief concern after discovering he’s become an insect is that he’ll lose his job, which we quickly learn he took solely as a means of earning money for his family. “Well, I haven’t given up hope completely; once I’ve gotten the money together to pay off my parents’ debt to him…” (Ch. 1, page 4) However, because of his determination in caring for his family, he tried not to lose hope. “That's all I'd have to try with my boss; I'd be fired on...

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