What are the literary techniques in "The Metamorphosis", and why are they used? 

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In the novella “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, the author utilizes multiple literary techniques to illustrate unique points. For example, Kafka applies irony and metaphors to his story.

Beginning with Kafka’s use of irony in the story, there are several times this occurs. Foremost, authors frequently utilize irony to illustrate a point while sometimes creating humor or intrigue. Kafka employs irony throughout the novella to illustrate the ironic separation that Gregor experiences. Before his transformation, Gregor spent much time apart from his family and thus, felt much distance from them. However, now that he is physically closer to his family (because he is always at home), Gregor feels even more distant and isolated. As the text reveals:

"Later, however, they had to hold her [Gregor’s mother] back forcefully, and when she then cried ‘Let me go to Gregor. He’s my unlucky son! Don’t you understand that I have to go to him?’ Gregor then thought that perhaps it would be a good thing if his mother came in, not every day, of course, but maybe once a week."

Thus, despite Gregor’s physical closeness, he was ironically even more emotionally distant and isolated from his family.

Subsequently, Kafka also utilizes metaphors throughout the novella. Kafka does this to show how Gregor’s life appears dehumanized or “bug-like” even before his transformation. For example, before the transformation, Gregor debases himself by focusing solely on work to support his family. Thus, after his transformation, he initially concentrates solely on his job. As the text reveals:

“what a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out on the road. The stresses of trade are much greater than the work going on at head office, and, in addition to that, I have to deal with the problems of traveling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary and constantly changing human relationships which never come from the heart.”

Consequently, Kafka utilizes this metaphor of becoming a bug to illustrate the dehumanization of Gregor (even before the transformation).

Therefore, Kafka uses many different literary techniques in his story. However, the literary techniques of irony and metaphor represent some of the most significant techniques in the book. By utilizing these literary techniques, Kafka focuses the reader on the dehumanization of man and the importance of relationships.

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