The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a reflection on how alienation and isolation begin and develop in a society by using the characters in his novella as a representation of society as a whole. Utilizing Gregor’s manager to demonstrate the initiation of seclusion and alienation of an individual, Gregor as the individual being isolated and the residents of the Samsa family as the other members of society, Kafka develops an effective model to represent the hierarchically structured result of isolationism and alienation in society on a larger scale.
Kafka utilizes the business Gregor is required to work for to illustrate the hierarchical effect of isolation and alienation, where the initiation of isolationism starts at the top of the hierarchy and therefore creates a causal sequence down through the rest of society. The supervisor of the business that Gregor should work for due to a household debt is the representative Kafka picks to show the most crucial individual in the hierarchy. By awakening as an insect and being late for work, Gregor has broken his conformity to the parameters of what is endured by the business, so the supervisor himself comes to handle the issue because such scenarios can “just be delegated to the intelligence of the manager” (Kafka, 13). This, as well as how the family deals with the manager as well as possible when he arrives demonstrates the importance of the manager’s choices and their respect for authority.
More demonstrating the significance of his decisions, the supervisor is the very first to respond to Gregor’s improvement by threatening, “your position is not the most safe” (17) when Gregor will not open his door. This reveals that he has the capability to entirely interrupt Gregor’s location in the hierarchy and in doing so, isolate and alienate him from the rest of society. The supervisor remarks, “that was an animal’s voice” (20) when Gregor speaks, which pushes away Gregor from mankind and reacts highly to the sight of Gregor by “pushing his hand against his open mouth and returning slowly” (23 ). After firing Gregor, the supervisor runs away the building which triggers the initiation of Gregor’s seclusion since work was the most essential and most time consuming thing in his life. This reveals that similar to society in general, the individual in charge holds remarkable impact over the remainder of the population and is capable of starting the concept that an individual must be separated.
Even if the figure in power decrees that an individual is not a good member of society and should be isolated, nevertheless, does not imply that all members of society respond the same way. the spectrum of views that members of society take versus those who have been isolated is shown through Kafka’s representation of the Samsa household’s response to his improvement. Gregor’s father represents those who respect authority and immediately agree with those greater in the hierarchy and unquestioningly aid in the isolation procedure. He uses a “blue uniform with gold buttons” (62) even when he is at home, asleep on a chair in the living-room which demonstrates the value he places on the system. This is likewise shown as soon as the manager responds to Gregor’s discrepancy from normal when Mr. Samsa begins to “drive Gregor back into his space by waving the walking stick and the paper” (29 ). Other family members, however, react differently to the scenario.
Grete is the closest to Gregor and is the most sympathetic to him instantly after his change by placing milk in his room, which “was his favourite drink and which his sister had actually presently positioned there for that reason” (34 ). Her reaction to Gregor’s isolation shows the opposite of Mr. Samsa’s by being as considerate as he is powerful in Gregor’s alienation. Her relationship with Gregor shows how in society, those who understand the person being separated prior to its initiation are probably to resist helping to impose the isolation. Nevertheless, Kafka understands that individuals are really vibrant and often alter their opinions. Grete goes through a change in viewpoint to such a degree that by the end of the novella it is she who states, “we need to eliminate it” (84 ). This change in viewpoint demonstrates how Kafka believes that members of society often stop sympathizing with the separated group when it ends up being troublesome for them to continue doing so. Gregor’s mom responds in an initial way someplace in between the dad and sis given that when first seeing him she “went 2 actions towards Gregor and collapsed right in the middle of her skirts” (23 ).
These contrasting desires continue through the novella, such as when Mr. Samsa tries to eliminate Gregor, “she begged him to spare Gregor’s life” (65) however at the same time she is repulsed by him. This highlights how she wishes to assist him and tries to consider him the exact same method she did prior to his improvement, yet is unable to. This looks like the idealists in society who theoretically support the alienated individual but often succumb to social pressures when they are required to deal with the problem. These three responses to Gregor’s transformation as an outcome of the initiation of his seclusion by the manager show the spectrum of responses. From the instant acceptance of the hierarchy represented by Mr. Samsa, to the real empathy of Grete and the idealism of Mrs. Samsa, Kafka demonstrates how a wide range of responses is anticipated from society, and how people typically change their viewpoints.
Similarly to how public opinions affect his mother, Gregor is likewise encouraged through his respect for authority that he is worthy of the isolation imposed on him by society. He thinks those above him in the hierarchy to such a level that he eventually reaches the conclusion that he would be much better off dead that to have his family suffering since of his existence. Like his daddy, Gregor has a strong respect for authority and served in the military up until his daddy, who is a reliable figure in his life, required financial assistance so he ended up being “almost over night, a traveling salesman, who naturally had totally various possibilities for making money (…) which could be set out on the table in the house in front of his astonished and thrilled family” (43 ). Gregor’s decision to help his household pay off their financial obligation without thinking about the result it would have on his own joy or thinking about refusing demonstrate how firmly he is entrenched in the hierarchical system.
The belief that reliable figures are constantly proper leads him to think that because society dictates that he is worthless and should have seclusion, he would be much better off dead than a concern to society. This is shown after Grete and Mr. Samsa choose that they want him gone, however Gregor’s “own thought that he needed to vanish was, if possible, even more decisive than his siblings” (89 ). He overhears his family regreting their misery and because they are above him on the hierarchical structure, Gregor believes that he has to die in order to spare them the trouble of having to handle him. This highlights how Kafka believes that society is so depending on a hierarchical structure and the assistance from reliable figures that they can not think for themselves and even the person who is isolated might still appreciate and follow those greater in the hierarchy. This is the last action in the transmission of an idea through a social hierarchy where everyone thinks that a person is lower and need to not exist, consisting of the alienated person themselves.
The Metamorphosis comes together to reveal the hierarchical pattern Kafka believes a society follows in regard to seclusion and alienation. He uses the manager of the company Gregor works for to model the instigation of isolationism, which in society is identified by the most important person in the hierarchy. Gregor’s household represents society as an entire and is utilized to illustrate the variety of reactions the people in society after they are informed who to push away. These responses range from immediate, unquestioning contract with those higher in the hierarchy, to idealistically supporting the separated individual, to having compassion with and attempting to help the alienated person.
He likewise utilizes Grete to show the vibrant state of human reactions, by changing from understanding and caring to vicious and unsupportive by the end of the novella. Kafka continues this shaping of society from the hierarchical structure by triggering Gregor himself to concur with the authoritative figures in his life and conform to the concept that he is useless, therefore enforcing self-isolation. the interactions between the characters in The Transformation show how Kafka believes that the isolation and alienation of an individual in society is initiated by those at the top of the social hierarchy and works its way down through the hierarchy up until eventually everybody in society has actually been affected to accept the preliminary choice of someone.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Ian Johnstone. Nanaimo: Malaspina University-College, 1999.