Alienation and Humanity in The Metamorphosis
In his short story "The Metamorphosis" Franz Kafka examines the alienation from society that turns a human being into a bug. At the same time, he also examines how not being alienated from society and how corroborating with society can turn human beings into lesser life forms who have more in common with thoughtless, instinctual insects. Gregor Samsa is clearly unhappy with his life and alienated from the expectations placed upon him by his family in particular and society as a whole. "If I didn't have my parents to think about I'd have given in my notice a long time ago, I'd have gone up to the boss and told him just what I think, tell him everything, I would let him know just what I feel," Gregor says. But of course, he can't tell his boss how he feels. How he feels is thoroughly beside the point. Gregor is a cog in the machine, not much different from a drone bee or a worker ant. Gregor's boss has no more interest in Gregor's ambitions than the queen bees have in their drones. Gregor's alienation is symbolically represented in his transformation; his bugdom is symbolic of his uselessness to the cycle once he has begun to question the validity of it. Just as humans crush bugs...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 840 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6269 literature essays, 1739 sample college application essays, 251 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in