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Distrust and Isolation in Kafkas Metamorphosis

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Distrust and Isolation Such is the excessiveness of the depiction of distrust and isolation in the opening stages of 'Metamorphosis' that readers can often be overwhelmed by Kafka's depressing prose, instead seeking sanctuary away from the novella. Paradoxically, despite the strict realist style Kafka implements, the inclusion of various absurd events, the most notable of which being the protagonists metamorphosis "into a ... insect", induces much ambiguity in the novella. As such there are divided critical responses regarding the purpose of Kafka's use of distrust and isolation; some feel it is meant to be partially autobiographical and applicable only to the author's life whilst there are those who consider it to be allegorically significant of society as a whole. Being a Czech in Austria-Hungary, a Jew among Czechs and an atheist among Jews, it would seem justifiable to claim the distrust and isolation presented in 'Metamorphosis' may have its roots in the much alienated life of Kafka. Indeed there are those who even interpret the supernatural metamorphosis of Gregor, a main cause of the protagonist's isolation, to be related to the life of Kafka. Often pondering over his meaning as a human - a thought commonplace among the existential philosophers, the deterioration of Gregor's human body can surprisingly be traced back to Kafka's life. ...read more.


Readers see Gregor's incapability to move as it is described how the protagonist "would have needed arms and hands to raise himself to a sitting position" as his body was "uncommonly broad". Gregor's struggle to leave the confines of his bedroom seems reminiscent of Kafka's attempts to transcend his various ailments and adopt a more satisfactory life. And so it seems that because of these disabilities, both author and protagonist's lives were distinctly isolated. As well as being temporarily trapped in his bedroom, the little outside world accessible to Gregor has been masked by the weather as the protagonist remarks "seven o'clock already and still such a fog". During this sequence Kafka implements pathetic fallacy to convey the confusion and isolation Gregor is experiencing as a result of his metamorphosis. The inhibitions present in Gregor's lacklustre life partially result from the austere mistrust and dependence his family have on him and this is again reminiscent of the life of Kafka. The opening stages of 'Metamorphosis' present readers with a harassingly bleak family relationship which irrefutably is a consequence of Kafka's deprived family life. Kafka's dire relationship with his family, in particular his father, is manifested in the published 45-page 'Letter to His Father', in which Kafka accuses ...read more.


The metaphor of the insect is used to show that such is the futility of Gregor's contributions to the world that he is equivalent to a housebound insect. Alternatively, Gregor's metamorphosis may be understood as Kafka's highlighting the necessity of freedom and moral choice. Having read the opening stages of the novella readers are often affected by the lack of choice present in Gregor's life. His occupation, the most defining feature of his life, is only undertaken due to his parent's demands as Gregor even at one point admits "if I didn't have to hold back for the sake of my parents I'd have handed in my notice long since". And so, it may be understood that because of the distinct lack of choice in Gregor's life, he is comparable to an insect- completely lacking in freedom and determined either by instinct or the desires of others. In any case, as a consequence of the metamorphosis, Gregor finds himself even more isolated and secluded from society. Kafka's interesting use of the realistic style, for example verisimilitude, augments the idea that the metaphor of the insect is supposed to have implications towards society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam Heard L6CBG ...read more.

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