It is worth noting that Franz Kafka and his work “Metamorphosis” is an example of expressionism in literature. It was written at a time when, in parallel with political and economic changes in the world, changes in the worldview of people were occurring (Rhodes & Westwood, 2014). The essence of the metaphor of metamorphosis is the global idea of a prophetic comparison of humankind with an insect; the soul of a person is a shell that becomes impenetrable, solid, and immoral. The title of the novel not only reflects the theme of the text but also shows the deep layers of ideological work. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the writing from the point of view of personality and the concept of the family.
It is important that the author of the work draws the reader’s attention to the fact that a person is usually judged by their appearance. The sight of the insect did not scare only the sister, who in everyday life was closer to Gregor than his parents were to him. However, she gradually gets tired of the fact that she needs to constantly take care of him (Kafka, 1996). Her brother chose a difficult profession, had no friends, because he was constantly working and thinking primarily about his family, but all of that turned out to be unimportant when he became helpless. The reader expects that the unbelievable transformation of the protagonist will change something in the souls of his father, mother, and sister, but this does not happen, and the insect makes everyone strongly unhappy. Moreover, they no longer see Gregor as a member of their family: “In front of this monstrous creature I refuse to pronounce my brother’s name, and therefore I merely say: we have to try and get rid of it” (Kafka, 1996, p. 47).
Moreover, the situation has elements of paradox on a deeper level of narration. Gregor, who has become an insect, understands his family, tries to be delicate, feels tenderness and love for them against all the odds. As the author puts it, Gregor “recalled his family with affection and love” (Kafka, 1996, p. 49). In the meantime, his family does not make enough effort to understand him. The father shows hostility towards Gregor from the very beginning, and his mother is bewildered (Price, 2018). At first, Gregor’s sister tries to be caring, but this contradiction in attitudes to him turns out to be a paradox: the family hates the insect and only wants to get rid of him. Humanity of an insect, animal aggression of humans – these familiar concepts turn into their own opposites.
Thus, it can be concluded that “Metamorphosis” is a work about transformations in human souls that occur in moments when a person is trying to make a choice between good and evil. The rupture of logical connections, the frightening strangeness of metaphors, and paradoxes are elements of absurdity. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the analysis of the theme of personality through the prism of Gregor’s family allows making an important conclusion about the general, global meaning of the writing. The author accurately observes the failures of meaning in the real world in which people live. This writing pushes the audience to re-evaluate their worldview and value system through a paradox that feels realistic at the same time.
- Kafka, F. (1996). The Metamorphosis and other stories. Courier Corporation.
- Price, A. (2018). An analysis of key ideas of deconstruction through Franz Kafka’s’ Metamorphosis’. Fields: Journal of Huddersfield Student Research, 4(1), 116-130.
- Rhodes, C., & Westwood, R. (2014). The limits of generosity: Lessons on ethics, economy, and reciprocity in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Journal of Business Ethics, 133(2), 235-248. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2350-1