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Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

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In the novella Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, a young man wakes up to be
something he did not go to bed as; a cockroach. In response to this dramatic change the young man, Gregor, responded by saying, “What's happened to me (p.1)?”

While he laid in bed he noticed, “His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked (p.1).”

Imagine one day waking up and being something that you didn't go to bed as. It would be scary being totally different from everyone else and not knowing where you belong, just looking for someone to comfort you. In Gregor's situation he had no one he could look to for help. He was isolated and alone. The moment his family saw what he had become there was total pandemonium. When his mother saw him for the first time all she could do was say, “Help, for pity's sake, Help (p.10)!” While she said that, she “suddenly jumped up with her arms outstretched and her fingers spread (p.10).” Gregor's mother, the women who gave birth to him couldn't even accept him for what he had become.

Gregor's father did not act any differently. Right when his father saw his son he, “seized the chief clerk's stick in his right hand, picked up a large newspaper from the table with his left, and used them to drive Gregor back into his room, stamping his foot at him as he went (p.11).” His father's reaction to the situation was disappointing. You would expect that a father would be caring in this situation, but he was not. His family overlooks the fact that it was still Gregor. Instead they judged him by his appearance and ignored his cry for help. This fatal decision to judge their son later led to his downfall. In the end, he chose to take his life by starvation.

Gregor's story is fictional, but everyday people go through similar situations. Often times people who are different in some way are subject to verbal abuse, which can lead to feelings of isolation from a particular group of people. I went through a similar situation but was fortunate enough to have someone who was willing to help me through this gloomy time period.

Growing up, I was always bigger than most girls in my grade due to playing sports. Playing sports made me aggressive on and off the playing fields and it did not work in my favor. Most girls were intimidated by me and they would constantly make fun of my weight and my boyish qualities. It was a self-esteem destroyer. Every day I would go home crying about the comments said about me. It would make me feel left out and unwanted. I wanted to lock myself in my room and never leave again. Sometimes I didn't think there was anyone I could turn to for help or advise, but I was wrong. There was one person. When I would come home crying from school my mother would always be there for me. She would give me advice and tell me that I wasn't big. She would share her experiences and stories with me to help me find ways of dealing with the harsh remarks. It helped that she had gone through a similar situation growing up. There was one thing my mother said to me that will always stick with me. She told me, “The reason why people make fun of others is to make themselves feel better.”

I managed to survive those years and grow out of my tom-boy physique and grow as a person. My mother helping me through that tough stage changed me as a person. I morphed into more confident, independent young woman. I learned to be more open to people and listen to what others had to say. I was a shoulder to lean on when someone was down. I am happy that I had someone like my mother there to support me through that tough time in my life. Without her I probably would not be the person I am today.

In Gregor's situation he felt isolated and alone. He had no one to talk to. If he had someone to lean on through his dilemma, he might not have killed himself. Just taking the time to listen to other's problems can make a big difference.

The world should take a minute to read Gregor's story and really think about it. It might be able to change the way people treat others.





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