Franz Kafka: Artist vs Society.

Essay by havokmaster2000High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2006

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In the stories, "The Metamorphosis", "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk", and "A Hunger Artist", author Franz Kafka makes the disturbing social criticism that the more generous or artistic one is, the worse they are treated by society. Gregor Samsa, Jospehine, and the Hunger Artist are either persons or an artist who was mistreated and taken advantage of by the public or by his or her peers.

In "The Metamorphosis", Gregor Samsa seems to be a human form of money to his family. When Gregor wakes up as an insect, his family is primarily worried about how the change will affect them and their financial security. The morning Gregor wakes up as a dung beetle is the first day he has missed work in five years and his father begins to scold him before he can even get himself out of bed. Gregor has been the sole breadwinner for years, working at a job he hates to pay his fathers debts.

The family leads an extremely comfortable life of leisure. The father "had done no work for the past five years and could not be expected to do much...he had grown rather fat and become sluggish." (96-97). The sister "dressing herself nicely, sleeping long, helping in the housekeeping, going out to a few modest entertainments and above all playing the violin." (97). The family takes a mid-day nap and even has a maid and a cook. Gregor is extremely pleased and proud to provide them with this lifestyle, but his generosity is met with resentment by his father and indifference by his sister and mother. Once the family was accustomed to this lifestyle they no longer feel the need to be grateful for Gregor. The family should feel the deepest gratitude and love towards Gregor, but...