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Is it possible for one to be human if the person is ostracized and used by society, including his family? When one is forced to complete tasks in life to bring satisfaction for other but frustration for themselves, they become inanimate. In the book Metamorphosis, written by Franz Kafka, the main character Gregor Samsa is the bread winner of the family of four. He brings home the money from his monotonous occupation so that his family is able to live their indolent life. However, one morning, he awakes, transformed into a bug. The metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa into a vermin, is a reflection of the author, Franz Kafka, and his relationship with his family who alienates him even though he completely sacrifices everything for them.
Before Gregor’s transformation into a bug, he took on a job that he despised, but did so to help his family in their ironically helpless situation. When he wakes up, he describes that he has a “grueling…and tortureous” job that does not allow him to build any “relationships that last” (Kafka 4). The character Gregor uses words with negative connotations to show that his hates his job. Gregor then goes on to say that “If it was not for my parents’ sake, I would have quit long ago” (Kafka 4). This quote illuminates that Gregor is only staying with his horrible boss and job to make money to pay off his family’s debt. He is willing to put up with a job that essentially makes him a “tool…without brains or backbone” (Kafka 5). Gregor is willing to do this for his sister and mother because he wants the “special felling of warmth” that should have come with “hard cash that was plunked down on the table” thanks to Gregor’s inner desire to “make the family forget as quickly as possible” so that his mother and sister can live peacefully. (25,26). Unconsciously, Gregor is outdoing his father who “had not worked for the past five years” and as a result had “gained a lot of weight and…become fairly sluggish” (27). In simple terms, Gregor is unconsciously taking the position as the bread winner of the family to win over his mother and sister and to successfully overthrow his father. Peter Dow Webster uses the theory of “Pre-Oedipal Syndrome” created by Sigmund Freud to describe Gregor’s actions and how the transformation foils this phase of his immature unconscious desire (Webster 155). The Pre-Oedipal Syndrome refers to a immature child’s “phallic libido” for the opposite gendered parent. (154). In doing so, the child unconsciously wants to take the position of the father in the family. This directly correlates to what is going on in the Metamorphosis, as the character Gregor is trying to please his mother, and sister who later “substitutes” his mother, by taking over the father’s role in the family and providing for their basic necessities (155). However, the metamorphosis of Gregor to the vermin completely thwarts Gregor’s unconscious yearning as it disables Gregor from doing the only thing that can gain the potential love that his mother and sister gives to him. This metamorphosis is then much more significant as it can be interpreted as a way that Kafka reflects on the struggles of his own life, from the job that his shows so much distaste towards, to how much society, even his family ostracizes him to extreme in which a bug is an equivalent comparison to Kafaka’s importance to others.

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Is it possible for one to be human if the person is ostracized and used by society. (2019, Feb 23). Retrieved June 15, 2021, from

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