The Metamorphosis is a fiction novel that attempts to explore idealism concealed in fantasy. The protagonist, Gregory is a sales man who is the bread winner of the family. He is a child of the family, but works hard to take care of his family, including his parents.
He has a very busy and tiring life. He is ever out on business trips or at work.
His hard work is not in vain, he is able to meet the needs of his family. He does not like the job however, he is only striving to clear his parents’ debts, after which he intends to quit. It is at this point that the story gets dramatic suddenly, he metamorphoses into a vermin. The family is shocked at first, then when they realize he is no longer beneficial, they decide to get rid of him.
The novel does not dwell on the event. The reader is faced with the aftermath. The whole happening, the how, is missing from the text. Perhaps the account of this is missing because Gregory must have been asleep, therefore could not decipher changes in his body. The main theme in the story is alienation.
The story follows a simple straight forward plot which present the reader with a chance to easily comprehend. Gregory is alienated from the society, his family and himself. He opts for a permanent elimination after his metamorphosis. This is due to the fact that life becomes almost unbearable. He is an insect with a human identity.
The Alienation in the Story
The story appears simple and superfluous. From the onset, where Gregory turns into a vermin, the reader’s spirit is invoked into deep thought. The whole ideas seems irrational if not illogical, at least by the laws of science. We get to interact with the life of a business man, who can no longer fend for the family due to his new state. The whole story appears metaphoric as it goes beyond natural instincts.
The story is carefully designed to make the user come to terms with it citation.
This is to illustrate the truth of metamorphosis. Scientifically, metamorphosis is a process of irreversible transfiguration from one less developed form to a more developed form. In a story that attempts to create a fantasy in a real world, the reader is thrown into an unreal world that is unrecognizable by the mind. How can a man change into a Vermin overnight?
As the story progresses, it gets clearer when compared with the present day industrial revolution. The advancement in technology makes the metamorphosis ‘real’. The story is symbolic and it gives a forecast into the future. The present day levels of alienation will be surpassed. The more the social Medias grow the more individualism grows. This shoots alienation to a whole new level.
Much of the story is based on the after metamorphosis has taken place.it is only after he has turned into a gigantic insect that he begins to analyze his life. He had never thought about his interests at deep length. His main goal had been to work as hard as possible for the family. His parents had a debt which he had purposed to clear.
When he turns into a vermin, he does not even for a moment ponder over the possibility. He is only thinking about how he is going to get to his job. To be able to sustain the family. He relates the situation with his inability to work, and laments about that only. He does not worry about how it happened. He quickly adapts to being an insect and hides behind the couch. He takes the whole life of an insect and alienates himself further.
At the realization that he is no longer human, his family develops hostility. He becomes an enemy. The father wants to kill him while the mother faints. He is further alienated when the family gets ashamed of being with him. The members of his family thinks he is very ugly, dirty and scary. He also gets to develop the same attitude towards himself.
We are showed how much serious it gets after metamorphosis has had effect. He is denied his rights. He is not a family member anymore. He has to adjust to a new life. Eating like an insect, sleeping under the couch among other sad realities. He has never had a chance to be close to anybody, since he has always been busy working. He had no personal life, his had been just work. It is only with his sister, Grete, whom he is a bit close with.He has always wanted to advance her studies in violin. He loved the way she played it. But now he could not even get a chance to watch her play, he was considered a nuisance.
He loses track of his old life. He instead finds himself as a human being trapped in an insect body. He still yearns for his human lifestyle and hopes to incorporate it in his insect life. For instance, he does not approve of the decision by his family to remove the furniture from his room. His family assumes that he does not need them anymore since he is not a human now. But he does not cherish the idea of running around in an empty room.
He however, is unable to make his wish known to them. His is an insect, with an ugly appearance. If he shows up to try to prove a point, it would only scare them and perhaps attract more hostility. Therefore he decides to maintain a passive nature. He prefers his room as it was previously as it reminds him that he is human. He wants to feel that he is still human, with feelings. He is not yet ready to lose his human identity as of yet.
Earlier, he had a job and he was human, however, he was still alienated. He had work to attend to since he was the breadwinner of the family. Gregory was naturally motivated by the suffering of others. He didn’t want any other member of the family struggling. He worried about their wellbeing and for this cause, he was always alone working. He would either be in restaurant rooms on business trips or at work on his own. His urge to help his family is crystal clear, although this contributes actively to his alienation.
The novel vividly describes Gregory’s plight before he undergoes metamorphosis. He starts lowly, then with hard work and great effort, he is able finally, to feed the family comfortably. The family is happy at his efforts, but does not make any attempts to understand his personal life. The family gets used to the provisions he makes. The family alienates him and does not see beyond the money he makes.
Gregory dislikes his job. The job prevents him from living a life true to his lifestyle. He is forced into the job by circumstances. He plans on walking out, but cannot do so presently because he has a debt to clear. A debt he is paying for his parents. His selfless nature adds more to his personal sufferings as man. This makes his life unbearable even before his metamorphosis. He sticks to job he hates not because he wants to, but because of a more honorable cause. This, as expected, alienates him further.
The protagonist, Gregory agrees to die, when the sister, with whom he had ever managed an intimate relationship with, finally decides that they need to get rid of him. “The decision that he must disappear was one that he held to even more strongly than his sister if that were possible. In this state of vacant and peaceful meditation, he remained until the tower clock struck three in the morning. The first broadening of light in the world outside the window entered his consciousness once more.
Then his head sank to the floor of its own accord and from his nostrils came the last flicker of his breath.” (135pg). He approves of the idea partly because he thinks that it would do the family good. He thought he was already becoming a burden, and one who is used to reaching out to people, promptly approves of his death. This is the final stage and the most fatal permanent alienation he subjects himself to.
The novel brings Gregory’s alienation to light before and after metamorphosis. He suffers both as a human and as an insect. He suffers more as a vermin as compared to when he was still human. He can no longer go to work, thus the guilt weighs more heavily on him. He is now an insect and feels that he needs to disappear from the lives of his family members, therefore he opts for a permanent method. He dies, thereby alienating himself permanently.