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English World Literature Essay

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English World Literature Essay: The Outsider and The Metamorphosis Comparisons between the relationships that the protagonists had with their parents and how these defined their characters. In the novels, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and The Outsider by Albert Camus, there are many important relationships that help define the protagonists. The protagonist in The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa, and the protagonist from The Outsider, Meursault, both had significant relationships with people that helped develop and define their character, the most important of these being their relationships with their parents. I will compare the two protagonists in their relationships with their parents and explain how these relations define aspects of their character. Firstly, in the novel, the Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa is a travelling salesman who hates his job but is forced to keep it in order to support his family and pay off his father's debts. Gregor has only one sister, so their family is quite small. Immediately at the beginning of the book, Gregor is transformed into a giant insect. He never comes to terms with his metamorphosis and struggles with intense feelings of guilt as if his inability to support his family were his own fault. Though he is now free from having to go to work, Gregor is now a liability to his family who keep him locked up in his room. ...read more.


It is Meursault's relationship with his mother that eventually leads to his death. At his court case, the caretaker recounts to the jury how he had not wanted to see his mother's body, had smoked and slept during the sitting as well as drunk white coffee. The prosecutor spoke more about Meursault's actions at the rest home in his final speech than he did of the actual murder and so it was his actions there that got him the death penalty, along with the murder as well and his refusal to admit that he was sorry for what happened, but the main emphasis was on his actions at the rest home. Samsa's relationships with his mother and father are more complicated perhaps. Before Samsa's metamorphosis his role within his family was important for he was the man of the house because he made most of the money. He came to this position after his father's failure in business and through Gregor's success, his father's self esteem and acquisitive senses were lowered. His father slipped into a degraded state while Gregor became the head of the household. His mother is mentioned less throughout the book but she comes across as being a loving mother who goes into a state of severe shock after Gregor's metamorphosis. Many of her actions are masked by those of the father due to her submissive nature and throughout the book Mr. ...read more.


in order to support them. He does not like his job but he continues to do it as his duty to the family. Meursault however sent his mother off to a rest home, yet we know he did this because she needed help from a nurse that he could not offer. Yet he tells us that he stopped visiting her because he did not want to take up his Sunday and travel for two hours on the bus. Unlike Samsa he felt more sense of duty to his job and his boss for example when he said "it's not my fault" when he informed his boss he had to take two days off. So this is a key difference between the two characters. Their sense of duty. We also see that in different ways, Samsa's duty to his family, and Meursault's lack of emotion towards his mother, both end up causing their demises. So Meursault's mother and Samsa's parents are important in defining their characters. Meursault's mother shows his lack of emotion his outlook on life and his inability to lie, while Samsa's parents show that he was once a provider but throughout the book he loses that ability. The fact that Samsa was living at home working to support his family and that Meursault had sent his mother away to a rest home is a clear example of the different ways in which these men think, and even though Meursault sent his mother away, he felt he was being kind to her by doing it. ...read more.

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