The Stranger

Rejection of the Abnormal in The Metamorphosis and The Stranger 12th Grade

Both Gregor Samsa from Franz Kafka’s novel The Metamorphosis and Meursault from Albert Camus’ The Stranger struggle to communicate with the people around them. Although Samsa suffers from physical abnormalities while Meursault possesses ideological differences, both characters - through the two authors' use of imagery - are portrayed as social outcasts and face extreme challenges in their lives.

Kafka uses imagery in the Metamorphosis to show how Gregor transforms physically, which leads to his rejection by society. He wakes up one morning to find himself in a man-size insect's body. Even before he reveals the details of the transformation, Kafka clearly illustrates the change when he describes Samsa as “he lay on his armored back and saw, as he raised his head a little, his domes, brown belly, divided in arc segment” (Kafka 13). Gregor Samsa's physical irregularities serve to show his alienation from other humans. Another example of imagery that is used to portray his physical abnormality is the description of Gregor's unusual white spots on his back, “(h)e felt a slight itching on top of his abdomen… and he found the itchy area which was entirely covered with small white spots” (Kafka 14). This quote...

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