Comparing Kafka's The Metamorphosis And Harrison Bergeron

2016 Words 9 Pages
Throughout history there remains universal themes explored in life and fiction that are not dependent on time or place. In Franz Kafka's novella The Metamorphosis it follows Gregor Samsa, a travelling businessman who transforms into a bug. As a bug, Gregor lives an unfortunate life full of loneliness, which is barely different than his life as a human. In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron we follow the rise and fall of Harrison himself in a society where everyone is completely equal. Harrison, while talented in many ways, suffers from his extensive handicaps that his dystopian society requires. Regardless of differences between authors, in both Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron both authors warn of struggles of identity …show more content…
How they individually form and respond is due to their unique situations. Gregor's reaction to his situation was to become meek and completely accommodating despite his dissatisfaction in his daily life. His mother describes his actions, "'The boy has nothing in his head but the company. I almost worry that he never goes out at night; he has been in the city eight days now, but he was at home every night. He sits with us at the table and quietly reads the newspaper or studies train schedules. Busying himself with woodworking is as far as he goes in the way of amusement'" (Kafka 950). Gregor's obsession with work takes over his life, as he feels he has no other options and has been trapped into this position. In fear of potential consequences, Gregor remains discontented for the sake of security. Conversely, Harrison Bergeron responds very differently in his situation. Instead of living his entire life with heavy handicaps, he decides to try and break free and rebel against the so-called equality in his world. His personality becomes almost warped in response to how he is treated in society. When Harrison begins his rebellion by breaking into a tv studio and removing his handicaps he proclaims, "'I am the Emperor!' cried Harrison. 'Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!' He stamped his foot and the studio shook. 'Even as I stand here' he bellowed, 'crippled, …show more content…
At the end of The Metamorphosis Gregor is overcome with loneliness, rejected by his family and unable to live in society as a normal human he seemingly succumbs to death. Towards the end of the novella Gregor's family loses any shred of hope in Gregor, his sister Grete speaks about their feelings: "'My dear parents,' said his sister and struck her hand on the table by way of preamble, 'we can't go on like this. If you can't see it, I can. I don't want to use the name of my brother in front of this monster, so let me just say this: we have to try to get rid of it'" (Kafka 973). Despite the family's original wary acceptance of Gregor and his transformation, the toll it takes on the family is greater than the love they feel for him. They begin to lose hope of him returning to his human form and view him only as a monster. The family does not directly kill him, but how they feel and treat Gregor leads him to an acceptance of his own death. During the scene of his death Kafka describes Gregor's feelings: "He thought of his family with compassion and love. His conviction to disappear was even more definite than his sisters. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful contemplation until the clocktower struck three. He experienced once more the approach of daylight outside the window. Then, unwilled, his head sank fully down, and from his nostrils his last breath

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