The Estrangement of Gregor Samsa
Gregor Samsa is the perfect example of a depressed, low self-esteem individual. These labels might seem harsh, but in today’s world they describe his character almost perfectly. If we look at the obvious signs and signals he displays throughout the story, we can see how he fits each of these labels. In my opinion, Gregor also shows signs of intense mental disorders that can be attributed to the traumatic situation his family has forced him into. Much of these disorders can be directly attributed to the lack of socialization and interaction with his direct family and most likely, the rest of the world.
Gregor’s character is one of a sullen, dejected, and downcast adult male who has been stuck in a grueling day to day routine with little to no deviation in-between. Gregor lacks any type of socialization, he is constantly working, and thus has no time to relax or partake in a hobby, not to mention that he is the only person who has obtained a source of income to support his entire family, so he couldn’t even afford an interest if he had one. This kind of depravation of stimulating activity can have adverse effects on one’s mental state, probably causing the chronic depression that seems to have completely shattered his life.
Gregor’s low self-esteem is easily apparent in his actions even from the beginning of the story. Almost immediately after realizing that he has just turned into a bug, he is instantly preoccupied with the fact that he is late for work and that he must get out of bed to try and get to his job. The opening line of the story, “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug,” (Kafka, Part 1, Paragraph 1) symbolizes his realization that he is in reality, insignificant, to the point where he feels like an insect. Even after this revelation he continues his thought process of needing to do things for his family, none of whom actually care about him. These thoughts and actions are obvious signs of low self-worth, he makes himself feel obligated to try and provide for those who lack respect for him.
Gregor’s job as a traveling salesman is very rigorous, in my opinion this is the main reason he has come under so much stress as well as the leading cause in his transformation. During the story Gregor describes his occupation:
…what a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out, on the road. The stresses of selling are much greater than the actual work going on at head office, and, in addition to that, I still have to cope with the problems of travelling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary and constantly changing human relationships, which never come from the heart. To hell with it all!” (Part 1, Paragraph 4)
This is where it becomes obvious that most of his problems can be attributed to his job. His family’s dependence on his income is also a source of trouble regarding his...