The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

April 10, 2008
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It is amazing how in life one event can lead to a series of larger changes in a domino style effect. This is commonly demonstrated through out our lives and also through literature we read. A prime example of this series of causes and effects leading on to more events is shown in the novella “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka where a negative event in a young mans life ends up unifying his direct family.
In Kafka's story a young man, Gregor Samsa, awakens late one morning and worries how he is late to work and how will it affect his job. Gregor wonders for how he can remedy this situation when he makes a discovery. He realizes he has suddenly been transformed from a regular human to a giant human-sized bug. It appears that Gregors mind is still human as he processes thoughts like he did before. Gregors family is startled by his new appearance and when he attempts to talk Gregor realizes quickly there will be no more communication because of his awful new voice of a bug. Gregors family relationships quickly disintegrate with this lack of communication. His father takes up to hating Gregor and not acknowledging him as his son anymore. This seemingly illogical transformation at first seems to just lead to obstacles in Gregors daily life, not allowing him to communicate with his family, restraining him from being able to go to his traveling salesman job and provide for his seemingly helpless family, and further complicating his apparently stable life but, but we see further into the story we see that it actually provides unity for the family and improves there lives with the exception of Gregor. By Gregor losing his job and ability to provide for the family his sister, father and mother must all take up jobs. They learn to bond when not working and this change takes there lives in a great direction together. Also Mr. Samsa reveals to the family that he had put away money from his failed business in case of a financial emergency like the one presented to them. You would think that this would enrage Gregor because he had been working his hands to the bone to provide for his family while the rest did nothing but be lazy. Gregor instead of being mad is happy that his father had the family in mind the whole time. Gregor continues his miserable life as a roach while his family's connections get better and better without him. In the end Gregor finally consciously starves himself to death and ends up dying and being swept away leaving a happy family behind.

I believe this novella is both depressing but also positive in a way. Gregors family blatantly uses him for his hardworking mentality and his contribution of income to the family's uses. Gregor does not see this because he is naive. I think that Gregor turning into a bug was unprovoked and in a way metaphorically ended Gregors life and then finally killed him in a physical manifest. This part of the story I viewed as particularly depressing because if this could happen to Gregor what makes in not be able to happen to anyone? Also how a perfectly good life was ruined in order to improve three other lives. The part of the story I find to be positive is the unity found in the newly working Samsas at the end of the novella. After the terrible cost of Gregors life the family unconsciously grows tighter knit and forms and actual “family” instead of just three related people living under the same roof. It's a morbid price to pay but in the end no one decided Gregors fate and atleast something good came out of it.

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