Paper Example: Analysis of 'The Metamorphosis'

Published: 2023-02-03
Paper Example: Analysis of 'The Metamorphosis'
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Character analysis Psychological disorder The Metamorphosis World literature
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1950 words
17 min read

In The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa woke up only to find that he had transformed into an insect. He contemplated his new existence by deciding to "lay down" in his room. It is evident that such a thing cannot occur in the real world. Gregor's family are traumatized and disheartened when they see him, and he is also shocked due to his condition. Gregor's sister is the only one who seems to tolerate him as she brings him food. Strangely, Gregor's situation was not being questioned by anyone, but instead, it is accepted. Besides, there are emotional alterations and reactions depicted by Gregor that can be related to a mental illness which is most likely paranoid schizophrenia. An individual with paranoid schizophrenia is mainly faced with positive aspects of schizophrenia that comprises of hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms usually distort the line between what is real and unreal, and as such, an individual is not able to live a distinctive life. Gregor's emotional changes and reactions to elements may be characterized as paranoid schizophrenia. Gregor further demonstrated the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, whereby, due to delusions, he felt angry and threatened. Also, it is evident that he had been pushed over the edge concerning family responsibilities and his actions focused on family members and further occurred at home. The author thus demonstrated the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia in Gregor and also utilized his situation to reflect his condition, the people around him who did not care much about him, depression and the reality facing his family.

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Gregor's mental illness is linked with the aspects of disability, stigma, and seclusion. In the novel, Gregor's father assaults "him" as he is viewed to be dangerous. Therefore, there is a decline in the social element of his family when he is in the metamorphosis state. The novel uses an approach similar to what happens in real life in modern society. Most drug addicts and AIDS patients, for instance, usually undergo stigmatization in the community, an issue that can be related to that of Gregory. Additionally, paranoid schizophrenia can be linked to Gregor's situation. A person with this condition usually lives in a state of mistrust and suspicion and believes that others want to maltreat, oppress, or hurt them as well. When severe, one ends up abandoning their daily activities and become isolated socially leading to depression and helplessness (Podsobinski 134).

Gregor initially demonstrated paranoid schizophrenia when his family members woke him up in the morning. "He had no thought of opening the door and instead congratulated himself for his cautious habit acquired from his traveling, of locking all doors at night even when he was at home." (Kafka 10). As such, it is a revelation that Gregor rarely communicated with his family since he had a busy schedule. Moreover, research undertaken by a doctor showed that Gregor had a mental illness. Individuals with mental illness demonstrated specific symptoms, such as being catatonic and paranoid. They are also antisocial and as such, lack contact with relatives and even nurses treating them as well. Mentally ill patients further lack self-care or engage in risky behaviors and also feel overwhelmed or feel miserable. Gregor demonstrated these symptoms associated with paranoid schizophrenia. It has been mentioned that he even congratulated himself for having an antisocial personality, which is a depiction of a lack of contact with his parents and sister. Additionally, it may be demonstrated that his family's attitude towards him, that is pitying him and adverse reaction towards his transformation was a sign of his low position and status in the family (Pinkham et al 34).

Gregor is an instance of a person with schizophrenia who underwent certain stages. He drifted, deteriorated, and when he got to his chronic stage, his family abandoned him. It has been indicated that his sister cared about him and would continuously bring him food. However, after some time, she hardly took care of him anymore. She even got upset when her mother told her she is supposed to look after Gregor (Kafka). As such, this was an indication of a change in Gregor, which was not adequately addressed.

Paranoid schizophrenia is associated with living under extreme stress and pressure. Gregor was not satisfied with his life, and at one time he thought, "what a strenuous career it is that I've chosen!" (Kafka 7). He further complained about the way he had to travel continually and the way he applied substantial effort in undertaking activities at work as compared to home. Furthermore, Gregor complained about how he had to eat bad and irregular food, worrying about train connections and being in constant contact with people and not being friendly with them as well (Kafka 7). In Gregor's situation, there were combined physical and environmental aspects that contributed to his stress and eventually schizophrenia. It is vital to note that the two elements are highly connected. Besides, Gregor was the breadwinner and as such had to ensure he earns an income that will fully sustain his family. He never complained about this aspect until he transformed. As such, it demonstrates that his daily life was filled with stress but did not have an opportunity to express his displeasure. The lack of care by his family became evident when Gregor was no longer able to work. They cared about him when he was able to bring an income and before his transformation (Kafka). Lack of attention and affection by his family may have been a significant contributor to Gregor's situation.

Absence of proper emotional care was a contributor to Gregor's condition. There was a substantial change of attitude by his family after Gregor transformed. Gregor's mother only demonstrated a scared emotion to the whole situation. It has been said that her reaction was "quite engrossed in herself, but then she suddenly jumped up with her arms outstretched and her fingers spread shouting: "Help, for pity's sake, Help" (Kafka 21). His father's reaction was even worse who made hissing noises at the vermin, which was his son. Gregor further demonstrated signs of schizophrenia as he became suspiciousness and developed a general fear of their intentions (Carvalho et al 654). He even asked his manager to put in a good word for him at work as the traveling salesman would often be subjected to negative gossip. He also tried to hide since he did not know what his family would do to him once they saw him in that state.

On the other hand, Gregor's transformation into a giant bug can be depicted as the absence of normal behavior. As such, it was a seeming lack of interest in the world whereby he just became unaware of the environment. Gregor may have regarded an imaginary image in his head and further developed a bizarre idea that he could become another creature to escape his sad and committed life that was also full of responsibilities. When he changed into a giant bug, he did not think that he had a mental illness, an aspect that has been related to his condition. Moreover, Gregor suffered from exaggerations and distortions of ordinary thinking and perception, which is what led to him thinking he was a bug. Gregor was also incapable of showing or even feeling pleasure towards his daily activities and opted to switch to a bug making him unproductive at work and home as well (Carvalho et al 654).

When Gregor's family members accepted his condition, they began to make a living and even started viewing him as a burden. Their maid also forgot that Gregor was once a human being and would make fun of him by saying things like "look at that old dung-beetle there!" (Kafka 35). His association with his family worsened when Gregor scared away three tenants, who were a vital source of income to his family. His sister said, "we have to try and get rid of it." (Kafka 39). As such, it is apparent that Gregor's sister no longer recognized him as a human being or even his brother. It may have thus subjected Gregor to mental disorder, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts. Gregor was found in his room dead, and before his death, he had different views. He "thought back of his family with love and emotion." (Kafka 41). Most sick people with cancer and AIDS, for instance, usually undergo what Gregor faced with his family. Besides, they typically get to a point where they give up and opt to die. By dying, they usually believe that they will leave their family with fewer burdens to handle.

Gregor's family did not bother to seek for help, and further assist him to get back to normal. Instead, they subjected him to stigmatization. Most people who are drug addicts or with AIDS and cancer usually try and hide from others for fear of being categorized as abnormal. Also, one is generally ashamed that they may be treated indifferently by their friends and even family. As such, when one opts to hide instead of seeking help, it depicts that they have a mental illness. Majority of individuals with paranoid schizophrenia are usually afraid of asking for help and even ashamed of their illness (Carvalho et al 657). Similarly, when Gregor's family saw that he was a bug, he was left alone to deal with his situation and did not consider seeking for help, an aspect that may be categorized as a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia.

Gregor's symptoms have been linked to paranoid schizophrenia due to the aspect of having false and irrational beliefs, lack of motivation, suicidal thoughts, psychosis, feeling controlled by external forces and fear of being persecuted. He had these symptoms and could not even communicate or move and also lost his appetite, which demonstrates a feeling of hopelessness. Gregor was undergoing all these as a bug, but it is relevant to note that this is faced by individuals with mental illness (Pinkham et al 37). It is apparent that transformation to a bug is irrational in real life, but in the novel, the way his family reacted, and the entire background of the story was real.

The paper has explored the novel "The Metamorphosis" and related it to paranoid schizophrenia. It has been observed that Gregor, who is purported to have transformed into a giant bug, had paranoid schizophrenia due to the symptoms depicted. He was suffering from delusions and as such, felt threatened and angry. Also, due to his family responsibilities, he had been pushed over the edge as his actions concentrated on their well-being. Gregor's mental illness has been integrated with the elements of stigma, disability, and seclusion. It has further been observed that his family portrays a decline in social aspect when he is in the metamorphosis condition. Most individuals who are either drug addicts or have AIDS usually face stigmatization, an issue that can be related to Gregor's situation. It has also been linked to paranoid schizophrenia whereby one lives in a state of suspicion and mistrust and believes that others want to maltreat, hurt, or even oppress them as well. Gregor's first demonstration of paranoid schizophrenia was when he was woken up by his family members in the morning. He depicted rare communication with his family due to his busy schedule. His antisocial behavior and lack of social contact with relatives is an indication of paranoid schizophrenia. Gregor was further observed to have drifted, deteriorated, and when he got to the chronic stage, his family abandoned him. As such, all these are symptoms of an individual undergoing paranoid schizophrenia and as depicted in the novel.

Works Cited

Carvalho, Celia Barreto, et al. "Psychosocial roots of paranoid ideation: The role of childhood experiences, social comparison, submission, and shame." Clinical psychology & psychotherapy 25.5 (2018): 650-661.

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Tustin: Xist Publishing, 2016

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