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The Metamorphosis Critical Essays

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❶The Metamorphosis opens as Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, awakes to find himself transformed into a "monstrous vermin.

An Analysis of “The Metamorphosis” Essay Sample

How to Write Literary Analysis
From the SparkNotes Blog
by Franz Kafka

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. Gregor Samsa is a young traveling salesman who spends his life working in order to support his family. One morning, he wakes up and finds himself transformed into a gigantic vermin Kafka 3. At first, he tries to remain calm and go back to bed. However, his transformed body prevents him from getting comfortable; he thinks it is because of his demanding job. When his family discovers about his change, his father is the first who shoves him back to his room.

As the metamorphosis occurs, each member of the family has different reactions and deals differently with the change. Gregor becomes dependable and his family goes back to work like the worker bees. Throughout the first chapter of The Metamorphosis, Gregor and his father shows a weak relation between each other.

They are the two characters that most directly contrast with each other. One critic, Ramon Mendoza G. The protagonist sees himself as what he has actually become, a dung beetle.

The only one in the story who treats him, as one would expect an intrusive, gigantic dung beetle to be treated, is the father. Samsa is uncaring for his transformed son is in the following passage: At any event, Gregor had to tell himself that he could not keep up this running around for a long time, because whenever his father took a single step, he had to go through a large number of movements. Further running away was useless, for his father had decided to bombard him with apple.

It seems that he would rather see his son dead than having him as a bug. This is absolutely true. Gregor forgets his own existence by trying to please other. He is the one who is working, but not the beneficiary. After his transformation, he starts to see things differently like a relief. He does not seem to bother about his change, but his parents act contrastingly by putting him in alienation.

According to Kafka and existentialism, people have both an individual side and a side with the commitment of society. It is our choices that must be in moderation of the two, to maintain balance. If a person chooses himself over society, he will lose the support of society; however, if a person chooses society, he will lose his individuality. Gregor initially chooses society over himself, which in turn transformed him into the working drone he was.

After his physical transformation, he is forced reassert his focus to himself, and society abandons him. Gregor learns to live for himself too late to become a whole person. Gregor begins to look for entertainment and fun in the form of a bug, a form that knows nothing but work. By ignoring the purpose of being an insect, Gregor defeats the purpose of living in his new form of life, and in effect, dies.

An author communicates voice through tone, diction, and syntax. Themes Motifs Symbols Key Facts. Take a deep breath and start by asking yourself these questions: Frankenstein and his monster alike? Elements of Story These are the whats of the work—what happens, where it happens, and to whom it happens. All of the events and actions of the work. The people who act and are acted upon in a literary work.

The main character of a work is known as the protagonist. The central tension in the work. When and where the work takes place. Elements of setting include location, time period, time of day, weather, social atmosphere, and economic conditions. The person telling the story. The narrator may straightforwardly report what happens, convey the subjective opinions and perceptions of one or more characters, or provide commentary and opinion in his or her own voice.

The main ideas or messages of the work—usually abstract ideas about people, society, or life in general. A work may have many themes, which may be in tension with one another. Elements of Style These are the hows —how the characters speak, how the story is constructed, and how language is used throughout the work. How the parts of the work are assembled. Some novels are narrated in a linear, chronological fashion, while others skip around in time.

Some plays follow a traditional three-or five-act structure, while others are a series of loosely connected scenes. Some authors deliberately leave gaps in their works, leaving readers to puzzle out the missing information. The perspective from which a story is told. In first-person point of view , the narrator involves him or herself in the story. In third-person point of view , the narrator does not participate in the story.

Omniscient narrators see and know all: Remember that the narrator and the author are not the same thing! Whether a character uses dry, clinical language or flowery prose with lots of exclamation points can tell you a lot about his or her attitude and personality. Word order and sentence construction. Ernest Hemingway, for example, is known for writing in very short, straightforward sentences, while James Joyce characteristically wrote in long, incredibly complicated lines.

The mood or feeling of the text. Diction and syntax often contribute to the tone of a work. A novel written in short, clipped sentences that use small, simple words might feel brusque, cold, or matter-of-fact. Language that appeals to the senses, representing things that can be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, or touched. Language that is not meant to be interpreted literally. A good thesis will be: Provable through textual evidence.

A really strong thesis will argue for a reading of the text that is not immediately apparent. How does the monster tell us so much about the human condition? Good Thesis Statements Question: Develop and Organize Arguments The reasons and examples that support your thesis will form the middle paragraphs of your essay. Trace Choose an image—for example, birds, knives, or eyes—and trace that image throughout Macbeth. Debate Is the society depicted in good for its citizens? Write the Introduction Your introduction sets up the entire essay.

However long it is, your introduction needs to: Provide any necessary context. Your introduction should situate the reader and let him or her know what to expect. What book are you discussing? What topic will you be addressing? Why is this topic important, and why is your particular position on the topic noteworthy? Literary essays make unexpected connections and reveal less-than-obvious truths. This usually happens at or very near the end of your introduction.

Indicate the shape of the essay to come. Your introduction should not: Beware of the two killer words in literary analysis: From outside the room, Gregor's worried mother calls to him. Gregor, unfamiliar with his new body, struggles to get out of bed. Later, the chief clerk of his office appears outside the locked door to Gregor's room, inquiring why his employee has missed the early train. Speaking through the door, Gregor claims that he is slightly ill but will soon be on his way.

Meanwhile, Gregor's concerned mother asks her daughter Grete to call for a doctor and a locksmith. Finally Gregor manages to open his door. His appearance startles the chief clerk, and although Gregor tries to reason with him, claiming he will get dressed and be on his way to work, the clerk retreats from the giant insect, as does Gregor's frightened mother. Gregor's father then appears and drives Gregor back into his room.

Thematic analysis of The Metamorphosis has tended to focus on the psychoanalytic and symbolic, or allegorical, nature of the story. While evaluations of the narrative vary, many commentators view the theme of alienation from humanity at the center of the story and interpret Gregor's transformation as a kind of wish-fulfillment or as an extended metaphor. Critics who perceive the metamorphosis as a form of wish-fulfillment on Gregor's part find in the text clues indicating that he deeply resented having to support his family.

Desiring to be in turn nurtured by them, he becomes a parasite in entomological fact. The complete dependence of Gregor's family and employer on him, then, is seen as an ironic foil to the reality of Gregor's anatomical transformation into a parasite.

Many critics who approach the story in this way believe the primary emphasis of The Metamorphosis is not upon Gregor, but on his family, as they abandon their dependence on him and learn to be self-sufficient.

One interpretation of the story holds that the title applies equally to Gregor's sister Grete: Another view of Gregor's transformation is that it is an extended metaphor, carried from abstract concept to concrete reality: For this he blamed a business trip that had interrupted him just before he completed the story. However, critics have noted that The Metamorphosis is one of the few works for which Kafka actively sought publication.

Since Kafka's death, critical interest in the novella has been considerable. In addition to the attention critics have placed on thematic analysis of The Metamorphosis, several have observed its sustained realism, which contrasts with the initially fantastic occurrence of Gregor's transformation into an insect. Many critics have also offered psychoanalytical interpretations of The Metamorphosis, seeing in the work a dramatization of particularly modern neuroses.

For its technical excellence, as well as for the nightmarish and fascinating nature of the metamorphosis itself, Kafka's story has elicited a vast amount of interest, and its various problematic features continue to challenge its readers.

Stanley Corngold has noted that "no single reading of Kafka escapes blindness," but that each new reading of his work encourages the study of the vast body of criticism devoted to it. In allegory, symbolism, and surrealism—the three genres are in this respect, at least, indistinguishable—the writer mixes unrealistic elements into a realistic situation. Thus, Kafka, in Metamorphosis, puts into the realistic, prosaic environment of the Samsa household a situation that is, to put it mildly, unrealistic: Kafka's method, while rather more overpowering, works the same way: To read allegory is simply to "probe" this field of meaning.

We can probe it only if we momentarily put aside the unreality which creates the field and measure the extra values given the realistic elements. By reading them imaginatively, we can understand the nature of the field; only then can we turn back to and understand the unreal element that created the field. If we look first at the unrealistic elements, there is a danger that we will be dazzled and see no more, as in the usual crude reading of Metamorphosis: Samsa is a cockroach, Samsa equals Kafka, Kafka thinks of himself as cockroach, and so on.

Reading Kafka that way is like seeing The Faerie Queene as a moralistic tract about temperance or Justice without realizing the rich, plastic meanings Spenser's realism develops for his allegorical names. Looking first at the realistic elements and their extra values avoids a second danger in reading allegory: Kafka's meaning, as Mr.

If, momentarily, we put aside the unreality of Gregor Samsa's metamorphosis, we can see that the story builds on a commonplace, even a trite, situation: For fully the first sixth of the story Gregor goes through exactly the kind of internal monologue any of us might if we had caught a discomforting, but not disabling, cold. To hell with it all! Metamorphosis has three parts, each marked by Gregor's emerging from his bedroom into the Samsa's dining-room and then retreating.

The first part of the story tells of Gregor's metamorphosis and of his job. In the second part, Gregor's father goes back to work for the first time since the failure of his own business five years before. In the third part, Gregor's mother and sister go to work, although Gregor had hoped to send his sister to the conservatory, and the family takes in three lodgers, employers, as it were, in the home.

After Gregor's death, in the third part, the lodgers are thrown out, and the Samsas write three letters of excuse to their three employers, and take the day off. Only by reading imaginatively the passages that deal with employers, employees, and jobs, can we see the extra meaning Gregor's metamorphosis gives to these elements.

Gregor, a traveling salesman who sells cloth, says of his boss: Still, all hope is not lost; once I have got together the money my parents owe him—that will be in about five or six years—I shall certainly do it. Then I'll take the big step! Why was Gregor, particularly, condemned to work for a firm where the worst was suspected at the slightest inadvertence of the employees?

Were the employees, without exception, all scoundrels? Was there among their number not one devoted faithful servant, who, if it did so happen that by chance he missed a few hours work one morning might have found himself so numbed with remorse that he just could not leave his bed?

After Gregor's metamorphosis, his father goes to work for a bank. The three lodgers whom the family takes in "were very earnest and serious men; all three had thick beards.

He seemed satisfied, however, and the two women, who had been anxiously watching, gave each other a smile of relief.

These descriptions are ambiguous, even cryptic—but not in themselves unrealistic; the pallor of unreality is cast by the impossible metamorphosis always present to our minds. The description of Gregor's boss has breadth enough to apply not just to a petty office tyrant, but even to an Old Testament God. Indeed, the reference to the high desk echoes the Old Testament metaphor of the God "most high" who yet can "hear" us: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" Is.

Read this way, the debt that Gregor assumed for his parents and must pay resembles original sin. Only after he has expiated the sin-debt can he "take the big step" toward freedom. The description of the "firm," with its atmosphere of universal guilt and punishment, also hints at original sin:

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The Metamorphosis literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Metamorphosis.

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The metamorphosis analysis essay print this page email this page Polonius narrates pursue for Hamlet's composition and standards to replace Claudius and Gertrude.

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Analysis of The Metamorphosis This story "The Metamorphosis" is about Gregor, a workaholic, who is changed into an insect and must then deal with his present reality. The hardest part of being an insect for him was the alienation from his family, which eventually leads to his death. The term metamorphosis means a complete and profound change in form, structure, and substance or a change in form from one stage to the next in the life of an organism. The central change in The Metamorphosis is the change in Gregor’s life, from an ordinary man and traveling salesman to .

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Nina Peliken Straus' analysis of Kafka's work is mainly revealing the feminist view of "The Metamorphosis". She says until gender based theories were not discussed in literary. circles. Throughout the story the characters experiences are that of European, urban, twentieth. century masculine attitudes. The Metamorphosis Essay. BACK; NEXT ; Writer’s block can be painful, but we’ll help get you over the hump and build a great outline for your paper.