The Use of Metaphors in Kafkas Metamorphosis Essay

This essay has a total of 840 words and 4 pages.

The Use of Metaphors in Kafkas Metamorphosis



In two ways, change is brought about in The Metamorphosis. The first is by allowing time
and circumstances determine one’s decisions. The next way is by using courage and
conviction to make one’s own decisions. Kafka brings about change with the use of
metaphors in The Metamorphosis. The hidden metaphors are there if one can recognize and
understand them. Kafka’s crafty use of metaphors throughout his story includes many uses
of different items. Finding the hidden and direct metaphors gives one a sense of
adventure and challenge.

The transformation of Gregor into a giant vermin is a very apparent metaphor, which can be
thought of in more than one way. One may be inclined to associate “this man turned bug”
as a grotesque display representing one of the lowest forms of life. Gregor’s manager and
family are repulsed by his unexplainable physical appearance. Stunned, the manager
retreats out of the house in horror, the mother falls to the floor in grief and the
father, in an attempt to get Gregor out of sight, forces him into the doorway of his room.
Gregor’s beetle body is too large for the doorway and he finds himself stuck and unable
to move, “when from behind his father gave him a hard shove, which was truly his
salvation, and bleeding profusely, [Gregor] flew far into his room” (Kafka 2314). Another
way one might define the metaphor of this transformation is looking at Gregor’s
disassociation with the human world. A beetle cannot communicate in language; therefore
there is no way for Gregor to explain his predicament to anyone. When he tried to explain
to his manager why he wasn’t at work on time, the manager asked, “Did you understand a
word?” and then he stated, “That was the voice of an animal” (Kafka 2309). Without
language and with a hideous appearance, Gregor, in his new state is cut off from
communication with the outside world and with his family. One should assess that Kafka is
using this metaphor with a dual purpose in mind.

The family assumes Gregor has done something horrible that they are not aware of to cause
his punishment of transformation. To add injury to insult, Gregor’s father has no
tolerance for his appearance and is not only cruel verbally, but also physically. On one
occasion, “He [the father] had filled his pockets from the fruit bowl on the buffet and
was now pitching one apple after another” (Kafka 2327). Gregor is injured by one of the
apples that embed itself in his back racking him with “unbelievable pain” (2327). Kafka
certainly uses the apple as a metaphor for original sin and the pain of the punishment
imposed by God on Adam and Eve.

Throughout Kafka’s strange and disturbing story are two more metaphors that are repeatedly
used: food and newspapers. Kafka’s reference to food and newspapers serve as a metaphor
for the need for sustenance. Sustenance is apparently something that the whole family is
in need of. Gregor describes the dining room table as having “The breakfast dishes laid
out lavishly on the table, since for his father breakfast was the most important meal of
the day, which he would prolong for hours while reading various newspapers” (2310-11).
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