Bartleby The Metamorphosis Analysis

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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville are two shorts stories that seem hard to compare and analyze together when read once. The plots seem to have no similarities. Although Kafka and Melville may have created two completely different stories, they have many similarities though different aspects. Similarities can be found between the main characters in the two stories, the narrative point of views, the theme, and symbols.
The main character in The Metamorphosis is Gregor Samsa, a sales man who is constantly traveling for sales purposes. The main character in Bartleby the Scrivener is Bartleby, a scrivener hired by a lawyer. In both of these stories, Gregor and Bartleby have jobs that fulfill their needs,
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we can see that Gregor and Bartleby are very isolated from the people around them. They do not have any connection with the society they live in. This ties into the theme of alienation which is greatly present in both of the stories. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor transforms into a giant bug which causes him to literally be separated from humans. This literal separation then becomes a psychological isolation. In, Bartleby the Scrivener, Bartleby spends his whole life at his workplace and does not interact with anyone. In the beginning of The Metamorphosis, Gregor transforms into a bug which eventually causes him to lose the ability to speak. Thus, he cannot express his feelings to his own family. This causes him to lose bonds with them and feel completely alone. The narrator says “… new people all the time, no continuity, no affection” (Kafka 505). This quote describes what Gregor’s job as a travelling salesman was like. This shows that even before his transformation into a bug, he always felt isolated from people as his job never let him build any serious relationships with people because he was always travelling. When it comes to Bartleby’s life in Bartleby the Scrivener, there is not much said about it, but it is obvious that Bartleby is also isolated. This is shown as Bartleby spends all his time at his workplace, and has no apparent friends or family other than his employer, the lawyer. The lawyer says “If he would but have named a single relative or friend, …show more content…
One similar symbol is food. In The Metamorphosis, the food represents Gregor’s family trying to adjust to his transformation. In, Bartleby the Scrivener, the food represents the various types of scriveners who work for the lawyer. After Gregor’s transformation into a bug, he realizes he does not like the same food as he did when he was a human. This is shown when the narrator says “But before long he withdrew it again in disappointment; it wasn’t just that he found eating difficult on account of his damaged left flank . . . more that he disliked the taste of milk” (Kafka 515). When Gregor’s sister realizes he did not drink the milk, she brings a variety of food choices for him to eat. However, what she brings for him to eat is not something humans would eat. This shows his family trying to adjust to his new life as a bug. Melville also uses food as a symbol, but he uses it in a different way. The lawyer gives his scriveners names that are food related. These symbolize the characteristics of the scriveners. The lawyer says “. . . I had two persons as copyists in my employment, and a promising lad as an office-boy. First, Turkey; second, Nippers, third, Ginger Nut” (Melville 481). The lawyer naming his employees after food represents their characteristics. Thus, food is a symbol used in both stories in different

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