Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”: Characters and Writing Style Analysis

Metamorphosis is Franz Kafka’s famous work published in 1915 in German and later translated into English in 1933. Kafka’s literature work provides readers with an unexpected persona transformation into a bug and the impact it creates on his family, identity, and state of awareness. The technique used by Kafka has enabled the analysis of the story from several perspectives by the readers. The character’s engagement with the transformation in his life and the influence it has on his awareness and his family is conveyed through symbolism, characters, and themes, story. In Metamorphosis, Kafka displays his non-rational writing style through the figure of Gregor, who struggles to live in a form of an ugly bug.

The central theme of transformation explains how Gregor’s relationship with the family members worsens. As readers note the physical conversion happening to Gregor, they utilize the perception taking place inside his head to grasp how he is feeling due to the transformation he has experienced. The transformation of Gregor into a bug raises doubts about its significance and the consequences it has on his existence. The shift in how he was regarded by his members of the family is evident in this transition. According to Kafka (p.3) “Grete would probably be the only one who would dare enter a room dominated by Gregor crawling about the bare walls by himself.” In an ugly bug form, Gregor is not treated as before the transformation when he was recognized and respected in the family because of being responsible for taking care of them. They can see the current treatment of his family towards him after he becomes a bug that lacks purpose in the household. The writer uses the transformation of a human into a bug to immediately test, and seek to expand, the reader’s ability to suspend disbelief. With the theme of transformation, the author helps readers in understanding the struggle that Gregor goes through while trying to find his place as a bug in the world.

The chronological order and strictly developed plot by the authors significantly contribute to the clear connection between the theme of existentialism and the metamorphosis. The story begins with the scene where Gregor Samsa, a young man, wakes up in the morning and finds that he has changed into a horrific insect. “He lay on his armour-like back, and if he

lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections” (Kafka, 1). The starting scene of the story is geared towards instantly provoking eagerness and suspense in the reader. The actuality of transformation is a powerful literary norm used by Kafka to aid him in scrutinizing the main characters in his work. The writer uses a step-by-step plot to present ideas to the readers and capture their attention on every incident after the transformation. For example, it ignites one’s attention to continue reading by relating to the events of the transformation and the results. Existentialism is depicted clearly by the occurrence of the scenarios after transformation till Gregor’s death.

In the novella, Kafka uses common characterization elements in narrative fiction to provide a picture of a half-man, half-insect who may be disgusting but also deserves the reader’s empathy and embrace of his existence. This is to provide readers with a narration of the character’s physical image, which is far from captivating. Gregor Samsa’s change into a bug shows the reader that he is under vulnerable forces beyond his control. As Kafka (p.1) narrates, “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from an uneasy dream, he found himself changed into a gigantic insect in his bed.” Franz Kafka binds his readers to comprehend the ongoing events and sympathize with Gregor, who becomes a bug.

The writer uses the symbol of a bug to provide the readers with the changes that one might undergo, limiting them from having an everyday life as usual. The writer also uses food to symbolize Gregor’s family’s remaining affection for their son. His family continues feeding him, lacking the realization that he can no longer eat the same food as before. “Gregor’s sister no longer thought about how she could please him but would hurriedly push some food…” (Kafka, 24). After some time, they are exhausted by the fact that their son is an insect and stop feeding him, resulting in him suffering and starving. The writer uses these symbols to portray how change can impact one’s life and that one may only be remembered using certain things they love during the challenging times.

In terms of cultural reference, the writer represents the traditional norm of family and how the life of Gregor digresses from such reality. The writer portrays the persona’s hardworking nature before his transformation through his ability to work continuously as a salesman to provide for his family even though his father is present. He also gives the readers the events after his transformation, whereby his father takes the position of patriarch of the household and exercises control over Gregor’s life. In particular, the writer uses these elements to help readers understand the historical context within which gender was the driving force in performing duties and roles. In the text, her sister words “we can’t carry on like this. Maybe you can’t see it, but I can. I don’t want to call this monster my brother, all I can say is: we have to try and get rid of it” (Kafka, 28). Gregor’s sister was already uncomfortable taking care of her brother who had turned into an ugly bug. The questioning of family abandonment by the authors also helps the readers understand what family is and what it means in challenging times.

In conclusion, existentialism centers on choice as one of the characterizing aspects of human identity. It gives room for humans to be accountable for their choices and the repercussions surrounding their choices. Existentialism gives an individual the most power, and the novella is an existentialist presentation because it shows how a lack of self-reliance results in death and loss. By transforming into an ugly bug, Gregor loses his independence ability, he is unable to support his family. Gregor’s main aim in life is to make sufficient money, uphold his family duties and settle their debt is thrown away with zero ability to fulfil.

Work Cited

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Engl 110 Canvas Site. Web.

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