The Metamorphasis by Franz Kafka

January 8, 2012
By mccoy3124 BRONZE, Palatine, Illinois
mccoy3124 BRONZE, Palatine, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Distortion isn't a case for dramatic extremism but to effectively "make people see [something]" (O'Connor). In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, distortion of the main character, Gregor's, physical and vocal appearance, in addition to distortions and inversions of classic stories explore how people in society follow others desires and ultimately aid in their own downfall.
From the very first page of The Metamorphosis, the reader is confronted with Gregor who isn't too concerned with his transformation into a monstrous vermin. The reader then is faced with his vocal change, the distortion of his voice. By distorting Gregor physically to something so weak and frail, yet frightening, Kafka draws attention to Gregor's situation. When the family first sees Gregor, they shun him and lock him up. Kafka gives the reader the privilege of viewing Gregor's thoughts and actions. The reader sees how although he's physically distorted, mentally and emotionally, he isn't. Kafka is highlighting that even though the family won't understand him , he is still virtually the same. In society, we base so much on how we physically view something yet that's the least important. With Gregor's inability to speak and his family's refusal to connect with him, Kafka presents a communication breakdown. Although he can't verbally defend himself to this family, he wouldn't anyways. He succumbs to a stagnant life caged in a room and continues to feel happy for his family, who leeched on him, financially, in the past. By following their demands, Gregor aids in his own downfall. Kafka wants us to see someone we desire to be the hero turns out to be a coward. He emphasizes that when we begin to conform to others wants and needs without standing up for ourselves, we are left to a dehumanized, secluded vermin-like existence.
Kafka's novella punctuates the inadequacy of Gregor's reactionary actions. He employs a distortion of classic stories to show Gregor had gotten himself stuck in a situation that's anything but normal or perfect. Kafka utilizes a distortion of the classic fairytale. Usually, a grotesque figure (or beast, for example) fight to become good looking and normal. However, without a fight, Gregor is transformed from a normal man to a bug. This reversed story tale shows the detrimental effect of silencing yourself and living for others. In addition, Kafka inverts a classic of the Odysseus complex. After the father dies, usually the son would take over. In comparison, Kafka reverses this so that the father becomes the dominant figure who champions Gregor's confinement. At times, the father chases his son and beats him. After all of this Kafka has him return to his chamber to show how Gregor just lets his family abuse him yet doesn't make them understand. Overall, the author distorts the classic storyline. In The Metamorphosis, the main climax begins at the beginning (Gregor's transformation) and most of the story composes falling action. By doing this, Kafka shows that the physical metamorphosis isn't essential action of the story. What Kafka wants to exaggerate after the change is the family's surprising reactions and Gregor's voluntary compliance with his situation. Kafka wants to the reader to find the extremity in his distortions but to realize the fault in the characters in letting themselves arrive in such situations.
Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis makes an effective case for distortion. He uses distortion in all aspects to show the distortion of perception and reality in Gregor and his family. He warns society not to fall in other people's traps like Gregor or (although perhaps involuntary) not to cause someone to fall into these traps.

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