Metamorphosis: Imprisonment

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Imprisonment comes in many forms and is frequently experienced by many people. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a story with a theme about imprisonment: it symbolically shows many imagery and objects that represent imprisonment and implies that physical, financial, and obligation imprisonments all exist in life. Using the characters of the Samsa family, Kafka creates situations that resemble imprisonment. These imprisonments are what confine people and their freedom. They create boundaries, borders, and walls that keep a person from outside intervention.

The Metamorphosis begins with Gregor in the process of turning into an insect. Insects are despised; they are looked upon as God's disgusting creatures. The fact that Gregor is turning into one is like him becoming unwanted. This foreshadows the story by portraying an outcast disapproved by the family. As an insect, Gregor horrifies his family, which results in their not recognizing him as a member of the family anymore.

He is blocked off from the human world because he's different. Lying in bed, Gregor looks out the window at the overcast sky and "hears rain drops beating on the window gutter". The rain symbolizes obstacles that limit Gregor's freedom. He is stuck in the apartment like a caged animal, and is late for work. He tries to get up, and is unsuccessful a number of times. His human senses are still with him but he doesn't realize that he is trapped inside a vermin's body. He finally gets up and soon realizes that his door is locked. Gregor no longer has the ability to open it. He tries to use his mouth, but it's very difficult to open the locks with no teeth. His room is like a prison, Gregor cannot go anywhere. He is stuck inside an insect body, which is held confined by the locked...