Alienation of Gregor Samsa
Alienation in any society would make a person feel helpless and alone. In Franz Kafka??™s novella The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa changes into vermin and is completely alienated from his world. He is no longer is able to have normal relationships, and he loses all communication with other people. The theme of alienation is explored through his relationship with his family and even through his relationship with himself.
The alienation of Gregor is unmistakably depicted through his relationship with his family. Gregor is forced to stay in his bedroom, and he is almost always without human interaction. Enticed by Grete??™s violin playing, Gregor enters the living room but notices that the lodgers, for whom she is playing, are not appreciating the music she is creating. Gregor feels the need to defend her, but he is seen by the lodgers so he retreats to his bedroom and ???He was hardly inside his room when the door was hurriedly slammed shut, firmly bolted and locked??? (Kafka 53). Now that Gregor is this hideous bug, no matter how hard he tries, he can no longer protect his family because they no longer view him as Gregor. He is kept away from them and wandering the apartment is out of the question. Gregor is kept isolated in his room as Sheldon Goldfarb explains, ???Gregors repulsive appearance means he has to remain in his room, a prisoner, completely isolated. His existence was always a fairly lonely one, but this is worse: as far as friendship and intimacy are concerned, Gregors transformation is not an escape from his past loneliness but an intensification of it??? (???Critical Essay???). Now that this transformation has occurred, his family cannot stand the sight of him. Although he may have felt alone before, now he is completely shunned from the outside world. He is not accepted his family and forced to become a recluse. Ultimately, Gregor??™s alienation reveals the seclusion that is inflicted on him by his family members and his incapability to create any meaningful relationships.
In addition to alienation caused by his family, Gregor also faces self-alienation. After transforming into a bug Gregor sees himself quite differently, hardly even recognizing himself after he wakes up. Walter Sokel concurs as he depicts, ???no manner more drastic could illustrate the alienation of a consciousness from its own being than Gregor Samsa??™s startled and starling awakening??? (???Self-Alienation???). Gregor has entirely changed into another species, and has become completely alienated from himself. He can no longer perform the same actions or hold normal conversations with the people surrounding him. In addition, the things that Gregor has grown to enjoy in the past no longer give him pleasure. For example, his normal surroundings now start to frighten him. Kafka explains, ??? But the empty high-ceilinged room in which he was forced to lie flat on the floor made him nervous, without his being able to tell why, since it was, after all, the room in which he had lived for the past five years???( 23). Now he does not even recognize why he feels the way he feels. He can no longer understand himself, and as a result, he is estranged from his feelings. Gregor thinks he can act like a human, but when he tries to, he realizes that he cannot. Gregor??™s transformation into a bug reveals how truly self-alienated he has become. His own self alienation exposes the pain involved in his metamorphosis, and how difficult is has been for Gregor to cope with his new circumstances.
The alienation as a result of his transformation by his family and himself reveals the hurt and misery Gregor is going through. He is completely shunned by his family and locked in his room as a result of his repulsive appearance. Additionally, he can no longer communicate with the people surrounding him and is therefore unable to act in the roles he is used to undertaking. Lastly, he can no longer truly understand his own feelings and emotions and is ultimately alienated from himself. All in all, alienation is an awful circumstance that results in much pain and suffering.
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