Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

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Our minds tend to play tricks on us. It makes us believe things the “normal” person may or may not; it might make us hallucinate or even be delusional, sometimes even insane. Our mind controls our body and how we feel and react to certain situations. Everything has an influence on us. Whether it is society, our working habits, or our families, our mind controls how we adapt to each. Our mind makes us who we are, how we use it. If we choose to use it, is up to us, yet sometimes you can not control what happens. In the story Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, the main character has transformed into a bug, or so he thinks. I think that it was all in the character's mind and he was not morphed into a giant six foot bug, but in fact he was either dreaming or just going insane.

Gregor was a traveling salesman who like some people, hated his job. Gregor was not only working for himself, but for his family. His family depended on him to make the money so they could live. They never once thought of actually working until Gregor was not able to work. This is one reason why Gregor could have been just going insane or dreaming. His family could have driven him to insanity because they were so dependent on him. Once they realized that something was wrong with him, they wanted to help him but, once they “saw” what he “became”, they wanted nothing to do with him. Society also could relate to Gregor being insane. Gregor felt pressured at home, as well as at work because his job required him to be almost nearly perfect because that's who he was. Gregor at one point got so angry over the fact that “other traveling sales men are living in luxury”. He wants to go to his boss but, he knew he would be fired, and let down his parents. “If I didn't have my parents to think about I'd have given in my notice a long time ago...”


This in a way relates to how some people react to those in a mental hospital. People who are there are there because their families or society thought they were a threat to others as well as themselves. I think Gregor's family thought that Gregor was now a threat because they knew and saw that something was wrong with him and was now unable to work. Once they realized that they all had to be independent, they forgot about Gregor, just like how people in mental hospitals were treated. Those people were isolated, and incapable of doing things alone, like walking around freely and interacting with others. Those people are not in the right mind frame most of the time to think on their own because something had happened to them. There may or may not be other reasons to why people end up in those hospitals, but there are reason and evidence to why Gregor may be insane or just dreaming.

There is a part in the story where Gregor is mentioning how his alarm clock didn't go of and he says, “Had the alarm clock not rung? He could see from the bed that it had been set for four o'clock as it should have been; it certainly must have rung. Yes. But was it possible to quietly sleep through that furnitireing rattling noise? True, he had not slept peacefully, but probably all the more deeply because of that.” This I thought could have indicated him dreaming because usually when the alarm goes off it is a piercing noise and does not stop until it is turned off. Yes it is possible that he could have turned it off and fell back asleep but, he knew how important work was, it was set for the right time, and he had not slept peacefully. When Gregor is struggling in his bed because he is incapable of using his arms and in a way his legs, made me think that he could not be free. It also made me think of a straight jacket they put on those patients who can not contain themselves. They had no actual freedom, like Gregor.

This all could be a dream to Gregor. This may just even be Gregor thinking. The fact that he knows that his family depends on him way too much may have caused him to see what it would be like if he was unable to work. The only thing that would be confusing about that theory would be the fact that Gregor dreamed or thought he was a bug. Out of all the things that could keep him from working, he chooses a bug. This also may be a sign of insanity, those thinking they are something they are not. Also, if he was dreaming or thinking, why was he a six foot bug and not a small one? Maybe he wasn't a bug at all, he just felt like one. “No-one dared to remove the apple lodged in Gregor's flesh, so it remained there as a visible reminder of his injury”. First of all, bugs don't have flesh, and second, an apple could not do that to a human, unless it was not a real apple but something else that caused Gregor pain, or it was all in his mind.

When someone is not in the right state of mind they tend to have abnormal reactions to certain situations. Gregor is a perfect example of how and why people literally do go insane. There was a lot of pressure on Gregor at home and at work, which is where it began. From that point on Gregor was incapable of doing things on his own and his parents neglected him and Gregor was not fed. They took furniture out of his room as if they were taking away his life and humanity. He was still human, he was just different. Those who do have psychological problems are different but they are still human, things do still hurt them and they do have feelings. Gregor may have been insane, or dreaming even thinking about being a bug but, he still had humanistic qualities that still made him human.





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