Franz Kafka was different, a man bent on portraying changes everywhere. Kafka was also a man consumed by death, consumed by the fact that he might eventually die. One man who was greatly affected by his fathers negligence of him, and a social deviance about him which held him back from interaction. Such a man was so afraid about what society thought of his writing, that he never widely published his works, and even asked a friend to burn all manuscripts. Not only was Kafka Jewish, he resented this fact.
Once Kafka even stated that “Sometimes I’d like to stuff all Jews (myself included) into a drawer of a laundry basket-then open it to see if they’ve suffocated. ” As anyone can see, Kafka was enormously enticed by death, and the fact that he greatly disliked his own cultural status, and even his family. Even though, this man was one accompanied by great wisdom, which was shown in the writing of Metamorphosis. Kafka was a political genius who showed all his political beliefs through his one great work, Metamorphosis.
All of the experiences in Kafka’s life are portrayed through Gregor, a person who wished he was dead at the end of Kafka’s words. Distant from the poor, meager, and mostly un-vivacious reality of life and it’s hardships stands one man, Gregor, a provider of financial resources for his family. Such a young man is making his way in society, and the world in general. Through Gregor’s successes, and his almost workaholic attitude, he has suffered into prospering. Prosperity is an awkward word, for it is one which not only describes a persons wealth, though also his downfalls.
The great undoing of prosperity shows itself in Gregor as he becomes a monster, one created by Anti-Marxist society. Since Gregor’s is a society which eventually shuns him, and his great mind for one fact. A fact that I wish to prove, through gazing at the society created in Kafka’s mind. However, a fact that has worth in studying because of it’s multi-faceted grooves and perceptions of society. In taking a glance at Kafka’s complex society, one must also see his society as an extension of Gregor. A person must first look at the meaning of Gregor’s name in German, and its derivation into English.
The name Gregor is closely associated to “Gregariously”, which refers to a sociable and jovial mindset. Gregor is seen as the epitome of sociable, a “traveling salesman”. However, Gregor is one who is “meeting new people all the time, but never forming any lasting friendships that mellow into anything intimate”(118). Through being a traveling salesman, Gregor must be friendly, though his forward happiness seems only a ploy to keep up his gut wrenching work. Gregor’s is only in this business because of a family debt to his boss. Gregor seems trapped in life and is unable to make a “clean break from it”(119).
Gregor seems isolated as though only a money maker, unable to really live his life in freedom. As Gregor’s Metamorphosis begins, it does so “in midi res”. The transformation of Gregor’s body into a “monstrous vermin”(pg. 117) is a ploy by Kafka to show that Gregor’s body has been transformed, yet his mind had not changed at all. Still, Gregor was addicted to his work and proudly stated that “I’ll be dressed in a minute, pack up my samples and catch my train”(134). Instead of first thinking of himself, Gregor automatically thinks of his job and how, “I have to take care of my parents and sister”(134).
Gregor is unaware that the family and office manager are unable to understand his speech. They stated “Did you understand a single word of that”(130), in order to show the reader that the speech of Gregor had changed, and therefore him as a whole has supposedly changed. “The father drove Gregor forward with a great uproar”(139), and eventually “closed the door with his cane”(139). Gregor had become the man of his household, though then is treated horribly just because he has changed. Such change may be a ploy to suggest that the physical matters much more than the mental in the eyes of this society.
In great change always comes unexpected reactions, though this was absurd to Gregor. His family had now begun to treat him like an animal, just for one difference. While Gregor is “bleeding heavily”(139), the family “In the course of the very first day, father laid out their overall financial circumstances and prospects to both the mother and the sister”(148). The family prospers during Gregor’s forced employment and then nearly perishes after Gregor’s Metamorphosis. Instead of worrying about Gregor’s physical status, they talk of financial status after their money machine has broken down.
This kind of behavior is eventually seen as influenced by Capatalistic society. One day this man of society is changed by the evils of capitalism and it’s social scene. From being a savior to his family, Gregor Samsa is transformed into a “monstrous vermin”(117). Kafka takes this young man in a capitalist society, and shows how he is a good person being flung into forced labor by his immediate family. The boss of Gregor’s work is shown as a man who “he talks down to the employee from his great height”(119). This commanding Boss is portrayed as government, one which takes away the liberties of a people he is supposed to protect.
Gregor’s work (employer) almost seems like “Big Brother”, as a powerful psychological force. In this story there is a recluse sense of Karl Marxs’ idealistic society. In the proletariat is Gregor, a man “sold as a commodity”, and with “changing value”. However, his family seems to be the bourgeoisie class which thrives from the hardships and labor of the proletarians. This story of change is a great satire, such as George Orwells’ “Animal Farm”, for it condemns the wrongs of capitalism and implores the good of communism.
Communism is seen as a community, and a journey through life filled with many comrades in many of Marx, Trotsky, and Engles’ writings. Such writings shows this community as a good thing, though condemns what happens when the changed, Communistic Gregor is isolated. “A prolonged isolation would inevitably end not in national communism, but in a restoration of capitalism. ”, as Trotsky once stated. A father of communism, is here trying to illuminate on how isolation makes a person resort back to capitalism’s evils.
As another father of communism, Friedrich Engels, once states that “Communism is a move from isolation, and into association. Gregor here has been thrown into a period of isolation from ones he loved, because he is now different. Of course, through isolation, such a family is trying to manifest Gregor from a beast to a conformist. Gregor had always been a conformist, even in his worsened state “he decided that next time the door opened, he would take over the family’s affairs”(169). In a deathly state, Gregor was still willing to work in order to allow his family to love him once more. Isolation had made him not worried of being a proletariat, though instead worried about his family (even if they didn’t act as such).
Through such an ordeal that Gregor and his family had gone through, he was never well appreciated. “It was not the families consideration for him which held them back”, rather, maybe “the main obstacle to the families relocation was their utter despair and their sense of being struck by a misfortune like no one else among their friends and relatives (168). Gregor’s family had not felt thrown aback and mournful by his Metamorphosis, yet that could never live as they used to, as rich and unemployed. In a strike to defend herself, even the beloved sister of Gregor, Grete has become enraged at her brother (if that is what he has become).
Human Beings can’t possibly live with such an animal”(180). All have denounced Gregor as an animal, and yet not apart of the family, apart of an isolated animal kingdom. Verily, even Karl Marx once wrote, “In small numbers, an animal so defenseless as evolving man might struggle along even in conditions of isolation. ” In this one sentence, the entire plot of the Metamorphosis is revealed, of how man is truly an animal who not only struggles, though eventually dies in isolation. The isolation solely did not kill Gregor, yet the results of isolation, and that disassociation from any family or love is what eventually kills Gregor.
So, indeed here the values of communism are evoked as the eminent solution to isolation, or even death. Gregor’s death symbolizes a death of his freedom’s, and therefore all peoples’ freedom’s. This death comes from an immediate change, although how may one live without changing for better or worse. Living is only a short lived changing atmosphere, one only regulated by society. However, society is consistently regulated by politics and government of “Big Brother”. Also society is a driving force in culture, and it certainly regulated the end of Gregor, and the lofty death of capitalism.