Modern Literature and Composition
16 October, 2011
Death Wish in Form of a Bug
A metamorphosis is a dramatic change in shape, size, appearance, and form. In our world, these transformations are part of evolution. Such as when a caterpillar goes through different stages of a metamorphosis, on its way to become a butterfly. This kind of metamorphosis is inevitable, because it is how biology works. In fiction, metamorphoses are usually result of magic or sorcery. According to that story, the transformation would be a work of “fate.” In Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”, the change in Gregor Samsa is neither biology nor sorcery. He was transformed into a giant insect because it was what he longed for. He didn’t ask to be a bug, but he did want an escape from his problems. Gregor willed his transformation, because he hated his job and he wasn’t satisfied with his life.
Gregor’s desire to leave his job was a factor in his metamorphosis. Gregor has been working for the Chief, to pay off his family’s debt, for about five or six years. He’s basically living through debt bondage. It is clear that he hates his job and his boss. He says “If I didn’t have to hold my hand because of my parents I’d have given notice long ago, I’d have gone to the chief and told him exactly what I think of him” (Kafka 1112). Obviously, he wishes nothing more than to quit his job, but due to his obligations he cannot. And those obligations are going to last for a while according to Samsa. “Once I’ve saved enough money to pay back my parents’ debts to him - that should take another five or six years- I’ll do it without fail. I’ll cut myself completely loose then” (Kafka 1112). Hating every second of his job and unable to quit, Gregor hoped for a way to escape his obligation to pay off the debt. So perhaps this was a partial cause of his transformation. How else could he be deemed ineligible to work? If he became ill, his boss would simply call him out and say...