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Gregor Samsas Isolated Life as A Bug and as A Human Many readers have different points of view when it comes to interpreting Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis a short story about a man who is turned into a bug. The life of Gregor Samsa was split in to two parts. The first was his life as a human; he lived his life isolated from a social life due to being the head provider of his family. In the second part of his life Samsa was turned into an insect where he lived confined in his room. Even though Samsa's life as a human was confined to labor and working for his family, his life as a bug was not that much more free because he was locked in his room. Samsa lived his life both as a human and as a bug isolated in his sadness due to the responsibilities he had of a son.
Gregor's life as a human was not free at all; he lived to work for his family and to be for his family. When Samsa was human he"is [literally was] stuck in a job he immensely dislike[d]s and [had]has the burden [...]to of supporting" his family (Goldfarb 1). Even though Gregor as human all Samsa he did wasoes is work and live in alienation, he still hads one thing that not even his parentsfamily did not ha...ve and that is financial independence. Being the only one who worked, Samsa did not depend on his family for anything. He worked as many hours as he had to, and he was isolated in his room when he was not working to allow his family time to enjoy themselves. Moreover, he did everything without any help from his family and if in another situation or without them would have led a successful life. Unfortunately, his feeling of obligation to his family were too strong and aHis whole family, father, mother, and sister depend on him to work. Gregor as a human, Samsa was nothing but aturned into a working machine that does not care about socializing or about maintaining a personal life.
When Samsa realized that he was a "monstrous vermin" he mostly worried about thewas "upset [about] of doing business [rather] than [doing] the business [itself]" (Kafka 3-,4). When he found himself turned into an insect Samsa did not worry about his stage, he was not even afraid did not even freak out at the sight of "his squirming legs" (Kafka 3). Gregor Samsa's first thought in the morning wwas always work and how much he hated the business. EThis shows that even though he wasven as a bug he could not help to thinking about anything other than work. Although in a Even as a bugdifferent body, Samsa still had the mentality of a human being. , hHe worried about getting up "'before [the clock strookstroked] a quarter past seven'" in order to be on time for work (Kafka 8). Gregor worries about being late to work. At this stage i Samsa's thoughts are is completely restricted confined tto work even when he is a "monstrous vermin" (Kafka 3). Work and more importantly His first moments as a bug depict how Gregor does not worry about himself at all and worries more about going to work and taking care of his family were Samsa's primary worries.like he used to. His whole family, father, mother, and sister depended on him to work because they did not.
As a n insect, Samsa is given the opportunity to finally be free of his burdens and responsibilities yet he is not ever free. Now "as an insect, "Samsa is free of his job and his family responsibilities" but he now had a whole new set of troubles (Goldfarb 2). As an insedct Samsa is free from working but instead of actually being absolutely free he is given a freedom and he gets one taken away from him. He was then confined to live in his bedroom and to forever be , and confined to dependent on his family which he was not accustomed to. More than just change in body, Samsa changed roles with his family. But aAs an insect, bug Samsa lost his independence and now he needed his family as they once like they needed him. His survival e now dependeds on his sister who would to feed him and who would even try to please him by "[finding]to find out his likes and dislikes" in a trial and error fashion (Kafka 23). to do this "she brought him a wide assortment of things" (Kafka 23). Now Gregor a man who would work on his own now depends on his younger sister to feed him, he loses complete independence as a bug. He now depended on his family to work to maintain for him and to keep the house he once worked so hard to once keept for them. Throughout his life, Samsa finds himself troubled with the thought of being the responsible son. As a human he worked to give his family a decent life with no help or sign of appreciation and as an insect he feels guilt at failing his family and causing them the burden of having to care for him.
Samsa lived his life almost robotically with nothing really human about him but his family and guilt. Only once he showed a sign of happiness. like his family did once for him. As if he were a child Samsa can now enjoyed a few theof the "simple things" in life like "He especially liked hanging from the ceiling [that he found]; it w was much better than lying on the floor; [since he] could breath more freely [...] and in the almost happy absent-mindedness which Gregor felt" (Kafka 30). Only when thinking about nothing did Samsa feel any joy which only further demonstrates his unhappiness with his life. As the novel does not previously mention any signs of him being happy, it becomes clear that Samsa's unhappiness was prior to his change into an insect. As an insect, As a bug Samsa was given an opportunity to could enjoy the simple things he could not as a did not enjoy when he was human , he just could not because of his preoccupation with when he walked he would walk to work and his family. This is the first time throughout the whole story that Kafka gives Gregor the description and the feeling of being happy. But as a bug Gregor loses his independence now he needs his family like they needed him. He now depends on his sister to feed him and "to find out his likes and dislikes" to do this "she brought him a wide assortment of things" (Kafka 23). Now Gregor a man who would work on his own now depends on his younger sister to feed him, he loses complete independence as a bug. He now depends on his family to work for him and to keep the house he once kept for them. But this opportunity soon turned into grief because as a bug Samsa lived his life isolated in his room shut away from the rest of the world. His family viewed him as a hideous vermin, and he felt this way himself. Every time his mother or sister would come into his room he would hide under his couch and would usually hide under a sheet. Samsa never "[had] no friends or lovers or [a] social life; in the evenings he [would] stay home, and during the day [only go to]to his alienating job" (Goldfarb 1). Even though he had a job Samsa would do only what work would let him do he had no social life at all. As a bug and as a human Samsa is always trapped inside his room where he was always alienated from everyone else.
Samsa's life as a human was spent to work for his family and to take care of them. As an insect Samsa spent the whole time in his room alone and confined from the outside world like he did as a human. It is difficult to conclude that Samsa's life as a human was better than that of an insect or that his life as an insect is better than that of his human life. As an insect or as a human the same Samsa was still the same person inside, other than physically Samsa did not change at all. Either way insect or human Samsa basically lived a life in which he spent all of it both sad and alienated from everyone. As a bug or as a human Samsa lived a life of alienation, and even though he went through a physical "mMetamorphosis" he did not really go through a mental or emotional one. Samsa's pPhysical change did not change his way of thought. As a bug Samsa worried about going to work and maintaining his family financially healthy. The only transformation Samsa goes through is his physical one but his thoughts and feelings did not change he was still the same man under the "Vvermin shell."
- Goldfarb, Sheldon. "Critical Essay on 'The Metamorphosis'." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Jennifer
- Smith. Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Gale. Los Angeles City
- College Library. 9 Dec. 2009 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=LitRC&u=losangeles_cc>.
- Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis (Bantam Classics). New York: Bantam Classics, 1972. Print.