"The Metamorphosis" - A Brave New World Book Review by Sagacity

"The Metamorphosis" - A Brave New World
An analysis of the combined roles of absurdism, evolution, and the Industrial Revolution in "The Metamorphosis," a novel by Franz Kafka.
# 128826 | 1,357 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2010 | PH

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This paper aims to connect the ideas of absurdism in Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" as it related to the new emerging Industrial Revolution at that time. The paper explains that absurdism is closely related to existentialism and nihilism; however, in the novel, the idea is brought to a higher level by the absurd premise of a backward biological progression. The paper asserts that "The Metamorphosis" is also indirectly related to the revolutionary ideas of Charles Darwin, which had challenged long-held ideas about Man's origins as preached in religions as creationism. The paper discusses in broad lines how the exploitation and squalor of the early Industrial Revolution society in England contributed to a sense of utter futility in the working masses and how this might have influenced Kafka's great novel. The paper opines that "The Metamorphosis" is a microcosm of what was happening in the Industrial societies at the time in which family became dysfunctional. The paper concludes that the novel contains a great lesson to be learned in that today's society must remain vigilant in the face of temptations to get rich quickly in a materialistic, capitalistic society in which social contracts are often thrown out the window.

From the Paper:

"The absurdity of the situation is exemplified by Gregor becoming an insect while his father who depended on him to support the entire family is not considered a vermin. In communist theory, it is the capitalist who depended on the working masses as the real parasite of society who performs no work. The excesses of early capitalism are clearly evident during the time of Kafka that may have prompted him to draw parallels in his novella. The father of Gregor is only concerned with further exploitation of his son's boring and repetitive work by trying to borrow money from the Chief Clerk and is indeed the real parasite in the story and not Gregor. There are other veiled similarities between the story's themes and capitalism arising from the Industrial Revolution such as Gregor's sister substituting his income by working as a saleslady. This type of worker substitution is also reminiscent of the way capitalism treats its workers, as mere inputs to production who can be replaced just as easily like any machinery."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Carr, Karen Leslie. The Banalization of Nihilism: Twentieth-century Responses to Meaninglessness. Albany, NY, USA: State University of New York Press, 1992. Print.
  • Foner, Philip Sheldon. History of the Labor Movement in the United States: The T.U.E.L., 1925-1929. New York, NY, USA: International Publishers Co., 1991. Print.
  • Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Morrisville, NC, USA: Aventura Press, 2008. (Re-print).
  • Marx, Karl, Mandel, Ernest & Fernback, David. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. New York, NY, USA: Penguin Classics, 1992. Print. (This book is a re-issue only).

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"The Metamorphosis" - A Brave New World (2010, August 13) Retrieved January 25, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-metamorphosis-a-brave-new-world-128826/

MLA Format

""The Metamorphosis" - A Brave New World" 13 August 2010. Web. 25 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/the-metamorphosis-a-brave-new-world-128826/>