Metamorphosis By Kafka And Metaphors

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).

The sister brings Gregor his food, or sustenance, and to find out what he might
like, "she brought him a wide assortment of things, all spread out on an old
newspaper..." (2316). The food is significant in such that they both provide
one with some sort of sustenance. The newspaper provides one with news of the
outside world. This in turn educates and fills the void one might feel by being
cut off from the world. The food, of course, fills the belly and is literally
sustenance for physical requirements to remain alive. When one thinks about it,
the same could be said of newspapers. By providing the mind with the information
and text, one is also fulfilling a physical need. This is the need to know what
is going on outside of one’s own realm and therefore fulfilling a physical
need for human contact. Kafka’s story reflects the tragic metamorphosis of a
seemingly everyday person, who, without the ability to speak and be understood
is shut off from not only the world, but his family as well. He longs for
nurturing, sustenance and approval. But in the end, the one he was the closest
to, his sister turns against him. She tells her mother and father, "You must
just try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor... If it were Gregor,