Metamorphosis: Problem Of Social Isolation
Human beings are social creatures. Our connection to others enables us to survive and thrive. In the book The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafaka it is evident that social Isolation/ Alienation affects how we validate ourselves, our humanity, and how society views you. From the very beginning of The Metamorphosis, Gregor is portrayed as a somewhat isolated person. He works hard for his family in a job that he deceives, and receives little if any, recognition for his efforts. He wants the best for each of his family members, and he desperately wants to be loved by them. After Gregor’s transformation, he is unable to live with the fact that his family will never love him and will always ostracize him. Fortunately, Gregor does not experience a transformation of his character in the same way that he experiences a transformation physically. Although he recognizes that his family will never embrace him, he has difficulty living with this fact.
One key idea that is displayed all throughout The Metamorphosis is the protagonist’s validation. At one point in a story they may decide that they have no purpose because they couldn’t provide in a certain way (This could be Metaphorical or a Physicality). For example, In The Metamorphosis, Gregor grows bored spending all his time alone in his room, and he starts to amuse himself the only way he can…with his new insect body: ”…it was hard to just lie quietly through the night, his food soon stopped giving him any pleasure at all, and so, to entertain himself, he got into the habit of crawling up and down the walls and ceiling. He was especially fond of hanging from the ceiling; it was quite different from lying on the floor.” This behavior would have been unthinkable to Gregor only a day or two beforehand.
What does it mean to be human? One key factor in categorizing what a human is is communication. In The Metamorphosis being turned into a bug took care of Gregor’s isolation problem. ( You could almost say that it was an excuse for it now.) Gregor’s physical isolation from the outside world in his room speaks to his general alienation from society, which expects him to work hard and find a wife. Despite the fact that he’s finally gotten the separation he wanted, Gregor becomes overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame because he’s become a literal parasite to his family. In order to achieve humanism you need communication because the needs of the individual and society are inevitable, yet equally compelling. Quora elaborated on this topic by saying, “ Communication is a process of sending and receiving information among people.— Many people believe the significance of communication is like the importance of breathing. Indeed, communication facilities the spread of knowledge and forms relationships between people”. This is saying that without communication we lose our labels as “humans”. Quora also states that Communication plays a vital role in human life,— Therefore the importance of communication cannot be underestimated.”
When we isolate ourselves we aren’t just hiding from ourselves, we’re hiding from others, and to be specific society. Everything and everyone in this story symbolizes goals that can never be met and voices and dreams that are silenced. Gregor’s transformation into an insect represents how little control he had over his life. How even the simplest things he wants to achieve or obtain he could never quite grasp. For example, He wants to quit his job, but he can’t because of his parents. He wants to lay on his right side, but he cannot because he is a giant roach. He turned into a giant bug because of a bad dream and he had no control over it. There are many other examples but the general meaning is it seems the things he wants he cannot obtain and the things he doesn’t want, happens to him.
There is no doubt that communication is the foundation of all human relationships. It not only helps to facilitate the process of sharing information and knowledge, but also helps develop relationships. The key to effectively run a society is to start with communication. For it should never be underestimated if it’s power.
- “The Metamorphosis.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Oct. 2019, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Metamorphosis.
- Bloom, Harold. The Metamorphosis. Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2008.