Free research paper on symbols and meaning in the metamorphosis by franz kafka

Classic English literature

This novella by Kafka appeared in 1915 just before the onset of the First World War. It falls under the broad genres of psychological fiction and allegory. Several instances of symbols that cascaded the plot justify this stance. The following themes are evident in the whole plot discovery. Mythology appears imminent which appears in the form of fantasy and illusions. Betrayal and guilt also reign among other eccentric allures of realism and punishment. Czechoslovakia appears to be the hegemonic place horizons that appear in the literary text. Metamorphosis is a complex terminology that depicts a change that is conspicuous and empirical. Kafka’s book revolves around Gregor Samsa who is an outstanding staff. He also appears as an extremely compliant brother and son. He supports his family squarely amid a collapse of his father’s trade. The shift in the story arises when an avoidable circumstance prevents him from arriving to work as usual. The employer, an inconsiderate man, comes to Samsa’s home to get an explanation to this anomaly. Kafka’s story unfolds in three phases. The phases extol on the process that Gregor changes his family ties in the maze of tight psychological allures. Gregor is keen to note the frequent helps he gets from the others around him, and this makes him think that he is a very great burden to the society. This thought becomes too much for him, and he decides to end his life so that he is stops to be a burden to people. The end of Gregor appears as a source of rejuvenation to the parents who chose to regain vitality and take a visit to the countryside. A great position arises on the friction that revolves around the father son relationship. The novella is one of the powerful representations of the 20th century taking care to denounce the problems that came with the hurdles. Several instances of symbolism arise in the text. This paper shall attempt to outline the symbols in the novella taking care to describe their relevance to the meaning intended by the author.
The first symbol arose from the cockroach phenomenon. Metamorphosis in the context of the cockroach defines the relevance of the literary text. The reader response theory denotes a variance of several instances of the cockroach phenomenon in abstracts of the symbolic realms. According to Kafka, this symbol literally inspires the reader’s emotions to acknowledge the instances of pity and repulse that define the work. The metamorphosis in the novella portrays a series of dynamic changes. Gregor changes into a cockroach. The change that Gregor undergoes appears complete and right from the onset of the story with an acute depiction of the main environment as opposing the main character. The change follows a sequence of adverse effects that appear in the essence of different dynamic transformations that are apparent to the main character. The new body that emerges from the new insect is a relative conformity to these sectarian allures of the worldly problems. Zoologically, metamorphosis denotes a certain stage in the life of an insect and an amphibian developmental line. The immature form of the object experiences a series of dynamic changes in the journey of becoming an adult. Grete undergoes her own changes in the plot that depict this zoological differentiation. At the onset of the book, she is emerged as a young girl, tender and naive in the environs of the society. The climax building reveals a change of a young girl as she assumes duties like caring for Gregor, the main character. She gets a job, eventually matures, and starts thinking of getting married. These new strategies symbolize a change, both emotional and physical, in the life of two key players in the book. The change in Grete’s body is synonymous of Gregor’s physical transformations.
“ Sleep and rest” are two motifs that have immense symbolic influence throughout the book. There is a peculiar indication of sleep and rest and the lack of it, which is recurring in the novella. At the onset of the book, for instance, the story introduces Gregor as just waking up from a sleep to realize he has a changed profile. The second part of the book also starts by portraying Gregor as waking up for a second time. This second awakening is particularly interesting due to the time of the day that it occurs. After the occurrence of this incidence, his father had previously driven him to his room out of utter disbelief. His behavior for the rest of that day is symbolic of a pessimistic character in the face of problems. We are able to draw the limits of sympathy based on Gregor’s metamorphosis. He crawls under the sofa portraying someone who is resting or anxious to rest. The main character also describes how the father liked to sleep and rest in bed or his armchair. As his work began deteriorating to an end, he began to avoid sleep. This led to a decline in his health, which saw him die at a tender age. This shows a contrast between the antagonist and the protagonist. These include Gregor and his father.
Another dominant symbol in Metamorphosis is the picture of the woman in furs. This symbol appears right from the beginning of the story. The woman with furs symbolizes Gregor’s previous human form before the transformation. As the reader takes a journey through the book, the dominant question that occurs as part of the response theory dwells on the author’s choice of symbols. A reader would question the essence of the pictorial presentation of the woman with furs. The details are more intriguing than deluding. The woman adorned a fur hat, fur boa as well as a thick fur muffs that enclosed her arms completely. These details appear to be the chief attraction of Gregor. This does not come out explicitly, but the readers are able to draw conclusions from the various premises that appear as deceiving. The symbol emerges as an embodiment of the character’s desires. Essentially, the allegory could mean that the woman depicts a sexually alluring object, while the fur is a symbol of wealth and prosperity to Gregor. The strong attachment that Gregor has to the picture does not emerge just yet, but thrives in the manner that he possesses the whole idea of the picture. He actually hangs it on his wall when he is still alive. The next episode that shows his mother and Grete clearing out his room reveals an inner desire and attachment to the picture. He clung to it desperately and hopelessly as the whole operation continued. The picture is the only part of his former living that he can confidently save from the wrath of the relatives. Though the content of the pictorial allures may be irrelevant here, the reminiscing outburst of Gregor is extremely significant. It is essentially a reminder that a person once existed in that periphery and had the object as an attachment to display.
Food is another symbol that cannot escape the reader keen eyes. Samsa’s families have a certain perception of Gregor. The representation of this outlook lies in the food that appears in the literary text. From the story, Grete receives a special attachment to Gregor. She feeds him mostly and cares a lot for his brother than other in the home. At the onset of the second episode, she left food (milk and bread) for him when she left for an errand. This depicted a show of sympathy and consideration after Gregor’s change. The most interesting bit is the fact that Gregor loved milk when he was human. The next part appears in a rather outrageous manner because Gregor does not drink the milk. Grete does not give up just yet. She puts an array of foodstuff in a bid to determine the food that appeals most to him. The other side of the story is a mockery of the family love that should exist. The other members grow tired of feeding Gregor. The arrival of the borders is a source of great resentment from Gregor. He sees the mother feed the borders while she has lost all the interest in doing so for him. At this point, he is starving and feels like eating just anything but the parents have less concern for him now. The father’s treatment of his son is also extremely significant in the symbol of food. Food should always bring joy and satisfaction. An adage extols on the value of an apple a day keeping away the doctor. The father depicts a complete opposite of this when he hurts Gregor using an apple. The injury is severe and the pain weakens Gregor. Apparently, this factor led to his untimely demise.
The last symbol that is also meaningful in this study is the father’s uniform. The book bears a critical outlook of the uniform that the father adorns. It symbolizes the dignity that the father has at work and in the house. The contrast appears when a shift begins to occur between pity and respect in Gregor. The father appears to the readers from Gregor’s point of view throughout the book. The first description that appears purposeful is the collapse of the father’s business. Gregor overhears the father explaining the financial position of the family due to the failure in the business. There is a greater indication of pity in what Gregor feels that respect. The next episode unfolds in a wry shift that deplores the change in Gregor. This occurs in part two when Gregor runs out of the room and sees the father after a long period. The opinion changes and this appear in the way he described the father’s uniform. The father appears more dignified and deserving respect. Gregor identifies the smart uniform, which is blue and contains colorful gold buttons. This appearance restores the respect that had dissipated regarding the father. The subsequent parts of the story declines the appearance of the father, now in a dirty uniform and always sleeping. The pity that existed before resurfaces again.
In conclusion, these symbols are essential in the explication of the novella as they contribute to the meaning of the text (Struck 121). The depiction of other characters in relation to Gregor depends on the symbols that appear throughout the book. The effectiveness of the allegorical connotations is immense and appropriate in many spheres.

Works cited

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka: A Lively Learning Guide. Sunnyvale: Shmoop University, 2010. Internet resource.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. New York: Bantam, 1988. Print.
Koelb, Clayton. Kafka: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Continuum, 2010. Print.
Struck, Peter T. Birth of the Symbol: Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 2004. Print.