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Please to help me by explaining the content and the message in "The...

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hon1990 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 21, 2009 at 3:49 AM via web

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Please to help me by explaining the content and the message in "The Metamorphosis".

If I have to write an analyse essay about this story, how should I begin it? It is really a hard story to understand.

Thank you,

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 24, 2009 at 12:42 PM (Answer #1)

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"The Metamorphosis" is a story about Gregor Samsa. The reader begins the story as Gregor awakens from terrible dreams.  As soon as he awakens he realizes that he has changed.  We soon learn that he has been changed into a horrible insect.  The story continues with Gregor's frustrations and challenges to live his life as an insect and a prisoner, after having been the sole supporter of his whole family.  The story deals with how his family treats him after this terrible metamorphosis.  They shun him, they lock him in his room, they take away all of his furniture, the food is trial and error.  At one point his father tries to injure him by throwing apples at him when he fails to step on him.  The cook keeps her door locked and finally quits.  The new "charwoman" likes to look at him and "opens his door daily to peek in on him. She even says, 'Look at the great Dungbeetle."

Gregor's father is totally unsympathetic, his mother is sad and ill over the experience, yet as mothers will, she still protects him.  At first his sister tries her best to make him comfortable but eventually even she tries to rid the house of him.  In the end the self-sacrificing Gregor simply dies.

The themes of Kafka's story are varied.  One theme is to escape the responsibilities of life.  Gregor first feels that by being changed he no longer has to go to a job he hates and work for people he fears.  The problems between a father and son are also developed by Kafka, maybe because he had problems with his own father throughout his life. 

Another theme seems to be prejudice. This young man, the provider for the family and a dependable worker, son and brother one day, becomes an outcast the next.  Kafka, a Jew, was aware of the struggle of his people.  Much like the Jewish people during the Holocaust, Gregor was respected one day and the next he was isolated and imprisoned for what he was.  The story appears to be a metaphor for the treatment of the Jews by the Germans during WWII.  '

Finally one of the most important themes is the betrayal of Gregor's sister.  The only person who tries to care for him in the beginning completly turns on him at the end of the story.  After Gregor's death, "Grete blooms into a beautiful woman."

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