The Metamorphosis and Ethan Frome
The routine of life can bring some people a sense of stability and happiness. For others
this routine can be the cause of immense discontent and a feeling of entrapment. The main
characters of the books The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
both experience this feeling of being trapped by their everyday responsibilities and
environment. Family obligation, societal expectation, and their internal and external
appearances trap both Gregor Samsa and Ethan Frome.
One main cause for Gregor being trapped is his obligation to his family. His financial
obligation alone is enough to put a great amount of pressure on him. His job and his
secret plan to put his sister through school also place a demand on him. Gregor is solely
responsible for repaying his parents’ old debts. The weight this puts on him is
demonstrated when he says, Well, I haven’t given up hope completely; once I’ve
gotten the money together to pay off my parents’ debt to him-that will probably take
another five or six years-I’m going to do it without fail(Kafka 4). Even after
discovering he has turned into a bug he still feels his obligation to his family.