Communication is defined as the exchange of information between multiple individuals. A sense of isolation is instilled in certain individuals who possess the inability to communicate with others. In Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, the lack of communication within the family following the events of Gregor’s transformation cause Gregor to become enveloped in a world of isolation, thus making his inability to communicate the crux of all conflict.
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Kafka incorporates an extended metaphor to show the lack of communication between Gregor and his father, foreshadowing the conflict between the two of them, as his father cannot relate the insect in front of him to his son. Throughout the novel it is evident that actions speak louder than words especially since Gregor is incapable of speaking intelligibly therefore most communication is achieved through gestures and motions and there is very little dialogue between the characters. For example, as Gregor watched his mother and Grete rearrange the furniture in his room he took it as they were stripping away all his memories from when he was human such as the desk at which he had written his homework assignments as a student (Kafka 28).
Gregor can not verbally tell them to stop so in an effort to save any last shred of humanity he has left, he jumps onto the photograph of the woman in the boa, this is ironic because he is acting the most bug-like in order to save the one piece of furniture that makes him feel human. Many Similar instances in which Gregor has to resort to gestures occur in the story such as when the father chases Gregor and began stamping his feet and flourishing the stick and the newspaper to drive Gregor back into his room ( Kafka 41). This ties back to the fact that Gregor’s family does not know whether or not to perceive him as a human being with feelings or an insect to be disgusted by. This contributes to the limits that sympathy entails. At the beginning, Even the father, who shows the least amount of remorse towards Gregor and even attacks him twice, never suggests that they kill him or force him out of the house. Instead, he indirectly shows compassion for Gregor by allowing the family to care for him. However, gregor’s inability to communicate his thoughts and feelings doesn’t allow the family to see his human side, framing him more as a monstrous insect (Kafka 3) as the novel progresses.
Kafka highlights Gregor’s sense of isolation by portraying Grete as an antagonist, showing how Gregor’s transformation into a insect has made him and his sister more distant.
Metamorphosis and Gregor's transformation. (2019, Jul 09).
Retrieved January 25, 2022 , from
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