The author’s insight into
the lives of Jews living in Prague in Metamorphosis presents us with
challenging tasks of Jews adapting to Western culture, whilst making them
vulnerable to assimilation. The lack of an established place due to Kafka’s
double minority status of Jewish, Czech and German roots contributed to his
struggle to communicate with others and his lack of an established place in
society profoundly affected with his writing. My understanding of Kafka’s use
of analytical and disinterested tone throughout Metamorphosis is that his inner
havoc to define himself combined with a disconnection from his community, allows
him to write in this fashion. In relation to literary modernism, Kafka
expresses alienation and uncertainty of life in a rapidly changing world by
suggesting that Gregor has no distinct culture and is alienated from humanity.
In a way, Metamorphosis allows for Kafka’s inability to express his feelings of
powerlessness and detachment from community.
My understanding of
feminism in Metamorphosis is reflected through Kafka’s personal life and
interaction with women. Kafka wrote many letters to women, emphasising his own
weaknesses, whilst pursuing strength from them. His personal relationships with
women mirrors Gregor’s debilitating condition and the presence of female
caregivers; his mother and sister. Kafka and Gregor’s inadequacy in their
masculinity is implied by their actions. It can be understood that Gregor seeks
to live as a woman, which is seen through his transformation from animus, being
the only earning member of the family, to anima, living as passive and
feminine. This can be a reflection of Kafka’s personal experience through his
Literary modernism is apparent
in Metamorphosis by his unfamiliar style of writing, which evidently is
influenced by literary modernism. During literary modernism, there was
separation between areas of art and literature and realist movements, due to a
lack of spiritual ideology. Throughout the narrative, no realism before
Gregor’s metamorphosis can be deduced, preluding any concept of a possible
escape from this reality other than within the subconscious mind of Gregor
himself. This transition and newly modernistic convention allowed for ideas of
the loss of the real, which is strongly evidenced in Metamorphosis.
Through our group
discussion, surrounding contextual topics and the effects of Kafka’s milieu
through his writing, I realised his writing was greatly influenced by the world
he lived in and events that occurred throughout his life.
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