The opposite of joy in The Metamorphosis

Something that Shusaku Endo’s Silence and Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis have in common is the aftertaste they leave in the reader’s intellectual taste buds. Unlike many authors, Endo and Kafka refuse to require the readers with a satisfying happy ending, opting rather for a less foreseeable however more dramatic finale. Regardless of the innocence of the central characters, both stories reach their zenith in the downfall of those characters: Rodrigues ends up a detainee and an apostate, while Gregor passes away alone in his room without ever regaining his humankind. In both books, the effective though unhappy ending is balanced by an enthusiastic note that the character’s failure has actually contributed to a happy ending in another location and time. The enthusiastic addition is essential in stressing the moral message in each story, which lies in how the central characters have the ability to discover satisfaction in their defeat.

The changes of the characters in each work culminate in their particular downfalls, which come with other favorable consequences on their own. In Silence, Rodrigues’ failure is represented in his new identity as an apostate and a detainee. However, the positive effect of Rodrigues’ apostasy is his amplified understanding of God’s character. As he ends up being aware of his spiritual filthiness, Rodrigues becomes ever more grateful of God’s forgiveness and His presence as the only staying convenience in his life. Rodrigues recognizes the existence of God who was with Him the entire time, who informed him that “it was to be squashed on by males that I was born into this world. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross” (171 ). His is a God who comes down to be condemned so that His individuals would not need to be condemned for the sins they commit in their weak and restricted flesh. This alternative side of the power struggle is highlighted when Inoue confidently restores his triumph over Christianity, to which Rodrigues things, stating, “No, no. […] My battle was with Christianity in my own heart” (187 ). Hence, Endo indicates that although Rodrigues’ downfall is apparent in his power resist the Japanese, in a more positive light, he has won the faith battle within his own heart through the conditioning of his relationship with God.

In The Transformation, Gregor’s downfall lies in his increasing seclusion from mankind and his supreme death. Nevertheless, on the other hand, Gregor has the ability to leave his existentialist ennui through his death. This appears in the description of Gregor’s train of believed as he lay dying. The storyteller describes:

He remembered his family with deep sensation and love. […] He remained in this state of empty and tranquil reflection until the clock struck 3 o’clock in the morning. […] Then without prepared it, […] from his nostrils drained weakly his dying breath. (85 )

This passage lies in plain contrast with his sensations in the rest of the book, such as his frustration at having to get out of bed in the early morning or his nervousness at Mr. Samsa’s significantly negative beliefs. For the very first time, he feels peaceful and material. Therefore, additionally, the positive repercussion from Gregor’s death is his own success over the stagnancy of life.

The downfall of the characters likewise brings positive effects to individuals around them. In Silence, despite the fact that Rodrigues is forever scandalized and put behind bars as an apostate, he imparts his newly found understanding about redemption to Kichijiro. He consoles Kichijiro’s weakness by saying:

There are neither the strong nor the weak. Can anyone say that the weak do not suffer more than the strong? […] Given that in this nation there is now no one else to hear your confession, I will do it. […] Enter peace! (191 )

Rodrigues eliminates Kichijiro’s burden by indirectly keeping in mind the lesson that he himself found out through his apostasy: particularly, that in their suffering, God Himself had actually suffered prior to them and with them. In the end, Kichijiro goes off into the world with hope that he might learn from Rodrigues’ mistakes and lead a devoted life. Similarly, in The Transformation, in spite of the melancholy of Gregor’s death, that really occasion permits the Samsa household to carry on towards their brilliant future. Prior to this, Gregor compromises his time and efforts for his family by being the income producer. Nevertheless, through his metamorphosis, that compromise is enhanced. Without Gregor’s financial support, the household is required to handle their own jobs, which turn out to be a great idea. Gregor’s death is the catalyst that permits the family to not be caged in their comfortable nest, however to keep approaching a brighter future. The narrator describes how they talked “about future potential customers, and they discovered that on closer observations these were not at all bad” (89 ). This truth is something that they would never risk and discover otherwise unless Gregor’s transformation occurred to break them totally free. The hopefulness of the circumstance is especially highlighted through Grete; the narrator especially explains how “the child very first raised herself up and extended her young body” (90 ). Kafka sets up Gregor’s death while informing the readers that it permitted these favorable modifications to occur.

The hope that emerges after the failure of the characters is explored by the authors through the spiritual and natural settings. In both books, the setting modifications throughout the falling action and denouement of the plot. In Silence, Rodrigues beverages in the environment of Japan beyond his window as he beings in captivity. The passage that explains this scene does so with serious melancholy:

His only alleviation was to lean against the window and watch individuals going to and fro. In the early morning, women with boxes of vegetables on their heads would go by. […] At night, bonzes sounding their bells would give the slope. He would stare at this landscapes of Japan, drinking in every information. (174 )

This passage describes the bucolic and tranquil scenery delighted in by the Japanese, including the Japanese in the pit that Rodrigues conserved by apostatizing. As a paradoxical contrast, Rodrigues himself is not able to take part in such appeal and is confined to his prison. Nevertheless, this contrast also serves to highlight the balance in between the despondence of Rodrigues’ scenario and the hopefulness that arised from his sacrifice. Also, in The Transformation after Gregor’s death, the setting of the book significantly changes. It becomes lighter and more peaceful, as can be seen from the serenity of the household as they embraced on the morning of Gregor’s death, or how “the car in which they were sitting by themselves was totally engulfed by the warm sun” (89) as they talked to each other about their future. The hopefulness of the scenario of the other characters such as Kichijiro and the Samsa household is filled on the other hand with the despondence of the central characters. Therefore, the 2 plain images boost and deepen the balance in between despondency and optimism.

The balance created by the bittersweet endings of these books is substantial since it enables the authors to fit a confident ethical message that balances the bleakness of the endings. The outcomes of the disputes in the stories identify the ethical messages conveyed to the readers. Since in both cases, the outcome of the conflict is the death of the main character, both Endo and Kafka would have a hard time sending positive messages in negative situations. Hence, the confident episodes of the secondary characters permit the authors to impart didactic messages. This stops both books from being a series of unpleasant events, rather making them into stories that can encourage and teach the readers. This balance is evident in both books. Through the hopefulness provided in Silence when Rodrigues acknowledges the hope he has in Christ and imparts that wish to Kichijiro, Endo effectively stresses the moral message about God’s fantastic grace and forgiveness to even the most repellent of sinners. Through the hopefulness provided in The Metamorphosis when the family gladly proceeds with their lives after Gregor’s improvement, Kafka has the ability to finalize the significance of Gregor’s down spiral as a selfless and unrecognized sacrifice to allow for a favorable metamorphosis in his family.

The two authors have actually sacrificed conventionality, comfort, and the readers’ excellent nights’ sleep to deliver the books’ mentally powerful endings. In general, Endo and Kafka have actually gone to great lengths in order to have the ability to pack more meaning into the stories they spun. Nevertheless, the grotesqueness of the scenarios is balanced with an enthusiastic note to reveal the readers that their preferred characters did not perish in vain. Hence, through the hope that they provide, both stories have the ability to deliver an ever more powerful moral message straight into individuals’s hearts.


Endo, Shusaku. Silence. Taplinger Publishing: New Jersey.

Kafka, Franz. The Transformation. Walking Lion Press: Utah.