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Throughout the life of many people, several events mold their identity. For the majority of them, such events come about during adolescence stage or in early childhood. However, for Franz Kafka in “The Metamorphosis”, this event takes place in adult life. Kafka portrays the society as being shallow, materialistic and ignorant which compels human beings to transform into isolation and solitude insect-like existence. The Metamorphosis is a book often read by many people. It teaches a lot of lessons, every time you read it. This book is about denial, sacrifice and confrontation. It demonstrates how an individual can have the capabilities of teaching others numerous lessons, just by being who he is. This study will focus on giving a general book overview and specific reasons as to why no one tried to cure Gregor Samsa after he turned into an insect.
In his book, “The Metamorphosis”, Franz Kafka exemplifies the translation of personal beliefs of existentialism. The author gives a haunting story of an individual who transformed from being a human being to an insect. The story has attracted lots of comments where more people agree on the importance and high quality of the story. However, it is commonly agreed that this story reveals a hostile world that is possibly absurd. The key themes in the book include isolation, self-sacrifice, workplace alienation, and father and son antagonism (perhaps portraying the difficult relationship between Kafka and his father). Kafka’s story is at times praised for several reasons: its three-part structure, its symmetrical, its symbols (like the music Gregor's sister plays and the lady in furs), and its use of black humor. But the most interesting story is the insect-like transformation, particularly the image of insect-like person lying helplessly on his back and waving his tiny insect-like legs in the atmosphere.
The first reason as to why no one tried to cure Gregor Samsa after he turned into an insect is because of the rules and regulations of the society: the society creates social order to protect and help its people. It formulates regulations and rules for its people to live by. Although these rules are not only meant to assist people living in a given society but also promote prosperity and growth, they sometimes have adverse effect on individuals. For instance, they confine individuals of their uniqueness and oblige them to follow social rules to the later. For this reason, some members like Gregory Samsa are considered outcasts. Such constringent forms of true self make human beings to face problems in their family units. The author shows how Gregor tries to abide by social rules and norms to attain his goals in life. Conversely, he isolated himself from his family in this Metamorphosis process. Given that the family unit is part of society, Gregor was totally considered to have gone against the society rules. He was eventually shunned from society in general and his family in particular. Segregation of individuals from the society leads to the collapse of the family structure.
The second reason is poverty. Gregor was the only bread winner in his family. As the book indicates, Gregor was the only family member with a source of income. In addition, his family members were not appreciative. It is revealed that his family members never used to recur whenever he provided them with the money, even after the first salary. The relationship between Gregor and his family drastically changed when he got a source of income. His family members no longer regarded him as a child; they took him as a real parent. But the moment he was unable to provide financially, they completely cut him off as a family member, leaving him in isolation. The family came to remember him when it was too late; his sister and his parents came at his bedroom door to inquire what his problem was. Gregor’s attempt to answer them failed as his ‘‘horrible twittering squeak’’ voice was strange to them. His parents were surprised to see him in his new body structure as he tried to wake up from his bed. He only managed to lie helplessly on his back with his tiny insect legs waving in the air.
The third reason was because the society and his family members regarded the transformation of Gregor as a form of wish-fulfillment. While the narrative assessments vary, various commentators interpret the new Gregor Samsa’s humanity as a kind of alienation. Critics who recognized the metamorphosis as a way of wish-fulfillment for Gregor find it in writing, showing that he extremely hated the idea of supporting his family members. He only wanted them to nurture him, yet he turned out to be a parasite in actual fact. The true dependence of the employer and the family members to Gregor is merely observed as a real ironic foil to the anatomical transformation of Gregor from human being to a parasite. Some critics who approach the narrative in this manner primarily believe that the emphasis of “The Metamorphosis” is on Gregor’s family, but not on him. This is because they stop depending on Gregor become self-reliant. Another story interpretation of this story would be that the book title equally applies to Grete, sister to Gregor. She goes from early girlhood to young womanhood in the course of the story. Transformation of Gregor is also seen as a metaphor. The metaphor is extended from abstract notions to concrete concepts that are real. This is because Gregor is trapped in a job that is meaningless and yet isolated from his close relatives and family members. Moreover Gregor considers himself an insect like the family does and turns out to be one.
The fourth reason was isolation. His death was bound to happen. He realized too late that the only thing he wanted from his family members was acceptance and love, which his family members could not give him. His family claimed that he Gregor had totally isolated himself for too long. Thus they did not need him in such a needy condition. Moreover, they had found sources of income; the boarding people and the sister. That is why they did not take care of him. Relatives and family members left him to pass on and be forgotten as he no longer cared for anybody. Relatives considered that Greagor Samsa only minded at following the view of the society of becoming a perfect child by working so hard for many hours rather than providing and keeping in touch with his family members. In the long run, he became the right person the society required, but sacrificed his relationship with his family members. Hence he did not get their attention when he needed them most. His quest to conform to the society led to his downfall.
The fifth reason was his job commitment and illness. Gregor was so much worried about his job. He was always concerned about not missing the train so as not to arrive late at his place of work. He complained about the tediousness of his job. He had acquired this employment to pay off the debts of his parents. When the chief clerk inquire why Gregor did turn up for work, Gregor was mad because he could not understand why such a highly ranked person would get involved in such a small duty deviation. He was very upset by the criticism from the chief clerk about looking his job and he defended himself for a long time. It was from the lengthy defense that the chief clerk realized that the was not well. His mother then sent for a doctor after noticing that her son was ill. That was when his father realized all was not well and sent for a locksmith. Time had passed and Gregor’s family members were not used to living with strange condition of Gregor. It was only Grete, his sister who had the courage to enter her brother's bedroom in his ensuing condition. One day when Gregor left his room, his mother became distracted and his father had to force Gregor to go back to his room by throwing apples to him. Gregor became gravely injured; he could barely make clear movement and continued to suffer a solitary convalescence. His mother committed herself to sewing as a source of income while his sister decided to become salesgirl. Gregor became increasingly neglected by his members of the family. Although a charwoman was hired to perform heavier domestic duties, Gregor was expected to attend to lighter tasks at home. One particular evening, Grete was playing her musical instrument, the violin, on crawling into the living room unnoticed; Gregor was later observed and considered to have revolted household rules. The lodgers made threats of giving a notice before departing. The following day, the charwoman made an entry into Gregor's bedroom and met a dead body.
The last reason was because of the criticism he received from everyone. The letters he sent to his mother together with his entries to diary about “The Metamorphosis”, show that even though he was usually satisfied with his life, he disliked the ending. He blamed it on the negligence by family members and also laid more blame on the business trip which interrupted and separated him from close friends and relatives.
This study has shown that Gregor Samsa, who was the main character transformed into an insect that could not be described. The author describes that he tried to cope with the emotional, physical, social and economic changes throughout this 'metamorphosis' story. Research has shown that due to this change, his relationship with his sister, relatives, and parents was altered dramatically. Not all changes were beneficial, some were even dangerous.