The Metamorphosis: A Distortion of Reality

Essay by smartypinoy06College, UndergraduateA+, March 2006

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"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka uses the distortions of Gregor Samsa's current state as a vermin, his invaded space, and the abstract use of time to convey the antagonist's alienation, isolation, and conformity causing his inaction as the existential hero.

Gregor's transformation absurdly exaggerates his shape, voice, and senses to exemplify how his physical mutation into a vermin and inarticulate struggles represent his alienation from society. "When Gregor Samsa woke up, [...] he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin" (Kafka 2). Because Gregor perceives himself of having the lowest form of life, it becomes appropriate for him to transform into a mammoth insect, instead of any other animal. Gregor's "painful and uncontrollable squeaking mixed in with the words could be made out at first but then there was a sort of echo which made them unclear, leaving the hearer unsure whether he had heard properly or not" (Kafka 4).

His inability to communicate with the family does not allow him to express any of his own personal needs and thus leaving him to fail in living his own life. Gregor "perceived things with less clarity, even those a short distance away: the hospital across the street [...]was not visible anymore" (Kafka 21). His range of vision literally becomes smaller and his new and more suitable state as an insect allows his one track minded nature of only perceiving what is necessary for his family more appropriate. Although Gregor's human form represents the norm, his selfless mentality and meaningless existence isolates him physically from society.

The living space transforms from a sanctuary to a confined prison in order to illustrate how the physical adaptation of his personal area ironically leads to his isolation from his family and ultimately all of humanity. In the story, Gregor "[pushes]...