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Comment on the dehumanisation in ‘Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka and ‘One day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich’ by Aleksandr Solzhenitsn

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Introduction

Comment on the dehumanisation in 'Metamorphosis' by Franz Kafka and 'One day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich' by Aleksandr Solzhenitsn. In the novella 'Metamorphosis' and the novel 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', there is lots of dehumanisation, some of which is comparable in both of the texts. In 'Metamorphosis', the first sentence is proving dehumanisation: "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." This is a blatant aspect showing dehumanisation. In "Metamorphosis" Gregor Samsa is rejected by his family: "He must go,' cried Gregor's sister, ' that's the only solution, Father. You must just try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor. The fact we believed it for so long is the root of all our trouble. But how can it be Gregor? If this were Gregor, he would have realized long ago human beings can't live with such a creature, and he'd have gone away of his own accord." This quotation shows his sister saying that the insect is not Gregor and the insect should be driven out, however it appears obvious to us as the reader that no one entered the room and Gregor did not leave the house. In 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', dehumanisation is even more present. ...read more.

Middle

All of the prisoners had to wear a uniform: "Shukhov was in regulation dress." This is branding every person the same. This is how a farmer would treat his cattle. Say you wanted to stay that little bit warmer thus making you work better you might wear extra undergarments but if you were to be caught, you could end up in the cells for ten days and no food. The two texts can be compared with the dehumanisation they both feature. In 'Metamorphosis' Gregor is trying to speak but he is just not comprehendible: "Did you hear how he was speaking?' 'That was no human voice,' said the chief clerk." In 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', the prisoners were not allowed to say certain words: "What for, citizen* chief?' asked Shukhov" with a footnote saying "*Prisoners were not allowed to use the word comrade." This is a very good example of dehumanisation because although Russia was supposedly communist were everyone related to each other as comrade, the prisoners were not allowed to say it, therefore declaring them not human. In both of the texts, the main protagonists are isolated, however in 'Metamorphosis' the family do not want to see Gregor: "She did not see him at once, yet when she caught sight of him under the sofa... she was so startled that without being able to help it she slammed the door shut again." ...read more.

Conclusion

habit in the family to push into his room things there was no room for elsewhere, and there were plenty of these now." Shukhov in 'One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' has been denied the pleasure of seeing his family and being free to wear his own clothes. Gregor is locked up because his family are actually scared of him and do not want visitors to see him. Shukhov is imprisoned because the Russian government put him there. I think there is a countless amount of dehumanisation in the two texts, which makes them very interesting to read. Gregor is actually a beetle so, in a way dehumanisation is not a great deal for him, yet Shukhov over comes the attempts of dehumanisation by the guards by keeping up his spirit in other ways such as removing his hat when he is eating. The lack of cigarettes or even food in the labour camp Shukhov is in forces the prisoners to turn against each other in order to survive, which is what animals would do in the animal kingdom. Gregor felt apart from his human life before the transformation. And he actually preferred being the insect state where he need not worry about work or family, so, had he actually dehumanised? In physical state yes he had, but mentally he still had rational deliberation, and other aspects that humans have. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anton Tustin Mr P Harris 12 Williams R ...read more.

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