Social Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka was not Jewish; Franz Kafka was not Czech, Franz Kafka only identified himself by his own perception of life, and a reality of his own creation. Kafka's family, a prosperous middle class home of economic strivers, embraced the German Jewish circles of Prague, seeking to assimilate with language and Jewish culture. Kafka, in the traditional manner he is remembered, was born into a middle class Czech family in Prague however; he most memorably reflects his personal alienation from cultural and famial identity throughout his literary works. Kafka also strove to identify away from the bonds of economic status and ethnic representation, as he rejected his Jewish heritage, even though his three sisters would die in a German concentration camp.
Kafka was constantly consumed with the idea of relating to the outside environment with a full depth of understanding, in order to break away from the confines and define a place within the environment, one of his own creations. As Kafka's life was controlled by a domineering an aggressive father, a mounting anti-Semitism during WWI, and the experience of tuberculosis, he began to feel the effects of separation from a uniform reality. With these independent experiences as he distanced himself from duty and society.
In a similar manner The Metamorphosis, Kafka's pneumatic Gregor Samsa finds himself as a material expression, but after his form is altered, he begins embrace the freedom alienation can provide. Through the character of Gregor Samsa, Kafka suggests that, although one may be continually defined by others as an outside form is altered, if any independence is achieved it can be crushed by society. Kafka believed society only embraces what it can understand and what it finds beneficial.
Kafka brilliantly reflects on the pathology of Gregor and his family as they struggle to define Gregor in the terms of his new physical being. The time prior to the genesis of the story tell Gregor's character as a valuable worker, a dutiful son, and doomed dreamer. He begins to represent for the reader the existentialist reality that all God's creatures must work and must die. For Gregor, he believes his transformation to be a simple barrier to his everyday cross of labor, but to the rest of society, reflected in the microcosm of his family, he is a problem without a solution. Kafka seems to suggest through Gregor's experiences that an individual's place in life cannot undergo change without the changing or the reactions of those surrounding the individual. He attempts to recreate the failures of family and the social confines restricting personal reality as he illustrates the gradual transformation which lends the title. It is important to remember that the alteration of Gregor's physical appearance took only one night, but the experience of The Metamorphosis required a great deal more.
Gregor exhibits throughout his experiences after his...