Essay on Mental Health in 'The Metamorphosis'

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The Analyzation of Physical and Mental Strains within​ Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka’s ​Metamorphosis​ gives a glimpse into the effect of abuse, and I wish to argue that Gregor took his own life in response to the mistreatment done by the Samsa family, because these factors play a vital role in why Gregor committed suicide. To prove this perspective, I will first use a source that claims Gregor sacrificed himself because he put a strain on the Samsa family. Second, I will discuss the idea that shame and guilt are the main reasons why individuals commit suicide, further explaining Gregor’s death. Finally, I will pull factual evidence from a study that proves Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to be the main cause of suicide and suicide attempts in adults, also bringing light to the idea that Gregor did take his life in response to personal experience.

My argument deserves to be expanded into a full-length research paper because it discusses the effects of mental and physical abuse on a human being, which Gregor greatly portrays within the story. In addition, a person may still love their family after being outcasted, which Gregor was; this ostracization led to his ultimate death and can be the cause of someone else’s suicide, furthermore giving a reason why advocating for victims with family trauma should greatly prevent suicides.

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Within the article, the author discusses that shame and guilt are some of the main reasons that individuals attempt or commit suicide. For instance, the writer states that feeling in which one can never “be seen the same” in the eyes of others (shame) or feeling not able to “live with one's actions” (guilt) is a pattern seen in suicide notes and suicide attempts (Crowder et al. 398). To clarify, flaws within an individual that cause them to become insecure towards others are a major reason many take their lives. Similarly, when individuals are assured their image is non-repairable and are feeling intense shame, they view suicide as a “viable option” (Crowder et al 398). Also, when individuals think that their sense of self has been damaged by their wrongdoing, the emotion of guilt may lead them to feel “unable to continue living,” with what they have done (Crowder et al 399). Altogether, the message can be seen that the roots of insecurity are traced to the topics of shame and guilt, these issues allude to a greater risk of suicide.

In the same manner, ​Metamorphosis, portrays the same message of shame and guilt, eventually taking credit for the cause of Gregor’s death. Notably, because Gregor could not work anymore due to his physical state, the Samsa family would discuss their financial crisis, which Gregor responded to with “shame and regret” (Kafka 28). As a result, this shame and regret further fed Gregor’s insecurity. Additionally, Gregor, at one point, wanted his room cleared out for him to crawl around, which was a way for him to “quickly forget his past” when he was still human (Kafka 32). Henceforth, these examples make it obvious that Gregor faced emotions of shame and guilt, therefore, concluding that he more than likely took his own life.

The author's argument in this source is that there are childhood factors, or Adverse Childhood Effects (ACEs), that are directly related to suicide attempts in adults. To demonstrate, the composers point out that​ ​studies have proven that the formation of suicidal ideas and attempts is higher among adults with a history of ACE including sexual abuse, physical abuse, and “exposure to parental domestic violence' (Thomson et al. 726). Thus, it is affirmed that subjection to family violence increases one’s probability of committing suicide.

Correspondingly, the results of the researcher's hypothesis on ACE’s relation to suicide was that the study was convergent with an expanding body of evidence demonstrating that ACEs are associated with a “higher odd” of suicide attempts (Thomson et al. 732). Ultimately, the research and statistics provided are key components in identifying personal occurrences that may trigger suicide in adults.

From a literature standpoint, ​Metamorphosis, metaphorically, represents the occurrence of ACEs in the character Gregor as he deals with his dissatisfied family. For instance, at one point in the story, Gregor’s father begins to throw apples at him, because Gregor is dissatisfied with him and the family; he fills his pockets with apples and without hesitation, throws “one apple after another” (Kafka 38). From another point of view, the apples can represent actual physical abuse towards Gregor and verbal abuse as well. Likewise, in the moments before Gregor’s death, Gregor makes it clear that the “decayed apple” in his back is still present, and he recalls back to his family with “emotion and love” (Kafka 53). Furthermore, it can be concluded that the apple, representing abuse, played a major role in the death of Gregor, but he continues to see his family innocently. In conclusion, Gregor took his own life as a result of these tragic memories.

Although many aspects compose the story, ​Metamorphosis, the focus will be on the particular feature in which Gregor is treated unsympathetically by his family. Additionally, this topic further helps allude to the idea that this treatment contributed to the death of Gregor. I will approach this issue of the story by analyzing these factors and composing an argument to further suggest that these acts not only led to the death of Gregor but altered his behavior of self-consciousness and feeling the need to vanish. To put it better into detail, Gregor not only died because of his family’s cruel desire to get rid of him, but Gregor took his own life to end his suffering.

The perspective focused on this is important because the actions portrayed by the Samsa family are mental strains individuals today still face, oftentimes leading to depression and suicide. For instance, whenever Gregor wanted to hear his sister’s violin performance, his family looked at him in “unhappy silence” (Kafka 52). Consequently, it is only obvious that Gregor would grow insecure and depressed due to his family expressing a sense of rejection towards him, furthermore aiding in the thought of getting rid of himself. Again, Gregor conveys this desire for disappearance in situations of disgust towards himself, such as when his sister exclaims that he would be the death of both his mom and dad and that they cannot come home to “be tortured like this” (Kafka 51). Because of the family’s dissatisfaction towards Gregor, it is after this scene that Gregor goes to his room, where he analyzes the events till this point in his life, then dies. In conclusion, acts of mentally abusive behavior can affect an individual’s mentality and view of themselves, and this topic needs to be discussed more often to prevent suicidal behavior.

Within the article, the author discusses the emotion Gregor faces in response to feeling like a burden to the Samsa family, further resulting in an action of sacrifice. Additionally, the author makes a statement regarding what Gregor must do since he can no longer be accepted by his family, “He must withdraw” (Speedwell 99). Because of this, it can be inferred that Gregor felt a sense of unacceptance and needed to disappear from the family. Identically, more details regarding the author’s intention of making this conflict obvious are better explained: the story makes it clear that Gregor is a thinking, sensitive human being who, under great mental pressure, maintains his sense of self-worth while the family continues to treat him as if he is not “an equal human being” (Speedwell 96). Overall, the author makes it more evident that the rejection and mistreatment of Gregor is a consequence resulting in his fatal death.

The source better helps in understanding a broader view of ​Metamorphosis​ because it goes into the perspective of sacrifice while remaining true to the story’s content. Correspondingly, this is shown in a scene when Gregor felt the need to go away, venting the possibility that he felt he needed to “go away,” even more strongly than his sister (Kafka 53). Similarly, another scenario can be recalled in which Gregor’s sister exclaims her true feelings towards her brother, saying she did not want to call Gregor her sibling and that the family has to try and “get rid of it” (Kafka 50). In conclusion, the family felt overwhelmed taking care of Gregor, resulting in their cold-hearted manner towards him.

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Essay on Mental Health in ‘The Metamorphosis’. (2024, April 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-mental-health-in-the-metamorphosis/
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