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Lack Of Communication As The Root Of All Conflict In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

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“Adfbafiwf dijabi dribankamishnit nadroobi ald kizohatro”

You would probably think the above-written quote is just a typo; Or maybe I’m not thinking right? Well, what if I told you this quote makes absolute sense to me? That I am assuming it makes absolute sense to you, too’? Because, to me, this is English – the language we are currently communicating in. Communication – it can be said that it is the most vital element to human survival – Or the survival of a human trapped in the body of a “monstrous vermin”.

I will investigate how communication, or lack thereof, in the Samsa family’s house is the root of all conflict in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. How from the lack of it, anyone is gradually alienated and dehumanized. “‘Did you understood a single word?’ the manager asked the parents, ‘Is he playing the fool with us?’” “All right, people did not understand his words anymore, although they seemed clear enough to him”

It is clear from the first interaction between Gregor and the Manager that Gregor’s speech is incomprehensible due to his metamorphosis. Gregor thought he would be understood, just like I thought I would be understood, above. Gregor thought so because he was able to understand himself; Why wouldn’t everyone else understand him, too’? Without proper communication, two parties simply cannot understand each other, and so was the case with Gregor and the rest of the world. First, they thought he was sick, so, they wanted to call a doctor; Then, the father suggested calling in a locksmith – they do not know what to make of the situation. If only Gregor was able to explain. Problems only kept occurring from there. This inability to communicate with his family harmed him in every way – physically (due to the morning incident and later his father’s attack), emotionally (the pain of his family detaching from him) and mentally (isolation and later alienation drove him to his death / caused his death).

“‘It must be gotten rid of,’ cried the sister; ‘That is the only way, father. You must try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor.” This is the point of climax of Gregor’s alienation/isolation among/st his family. In his family’s eyes, he was not human anymore; Because, all of a sudden, they all could no longer understand him and gradually begun to step away from him until ultimately they could no longer relate to him because his lack of communication is seen as a lack of thought and humanity – although it is sad in Gregor’s case, this is human nature. No matter how strong a relationship is, it simply perishes/diminishes without proper communication; It may take longer with blood relationships, but eventually, you will get/reach the same result. There is no Gregor inside that “vermin”, and taking care of “it” has become a burden on the family (even though he was the breadwinner for a long time before his metamorphosis, taking care of his family), especially on his sister, who “had perhaps undertaken such a difficult task only out of childish recklessness.” (Page 40, Book,

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His, sister, who he loved; His sister, who took care of him and cleaned after him during this hard time, now refers to him as “it” – that just broke Gregor; Made him feel betrayed, backstabbed, and eventually lead to his final stage of isolation, and eventually, his death. His sister did not see Gregor in the “vermin”, she just saw “vermin” as is. Both sides eventually give up. This is the consequence of Gregor’s “lack of all human contact”

No matter how strong a relationship is, it simply perishes/diminishes without proper communication; It may take longer with blood relationships, but eventually, you will get/reach the same result. Kafka did not mention this, but I think it is interesting to relate The Metamorphosis’s story to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel (Book of Genesis):

“According to the story, a united human race in the generations following the Great Flood speaking a single language and migrating westward, comes to the land of Shinaf. There they agree to build a city and a tower tall enough to reach heaven. God, observing their city and tower, confounds their speech so that they can no longer understand each other, and scatters them around the world.”

The Tower of Babel’s story parallels with the theme of Understanding and Communication in The Metamorphosis. Just how the family completely disconnected from and lost any connection to Gregor due to his inability to communicate, so did the men of the The Tower of Babel to each other. Whether or not Gregor’s metamorphosis was a punishment from God is left for individual interpretation.

To conclude, it is clear from the story that the loss of communication between Gregor and the world was the main root of all conflict, the breakdown of the family, his alienation by his own family, and his isolation – which all lead to his eventual death. Although his death was sad, it is Kafka’s way of proving just how essential communication and human contact are; Without them, life is not worth living, just as Gregor realized in his final stage of isolation. As mentioned in the beginning of this writing, communication is essential to us human beings; The lack of it could easily estrange people from each other, exactly like what happened between Gregor and his family. Gregor had no way of expressing his thoughts and his “inner human”, therefore, his family saw him as nothing more than what he appeared to be.

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Lack Of Communication As The Root Of All Conflict In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/lack-of-communication-as-the-root-of-all-conflict-in-franz-kafkas-the-metamorphosis/
“Lack Of Communication As The Root Of All Conflict In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/lack-of-communication-as-the-root-of-all-conflict-in-franz-kafkas-the-metamorphosis/
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Lack Of Communication As The Root Of All Conflict In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 09 [cited 2022 Oct 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/lack-of-communication-as-the-root-of-all-conflict-in-franz-kafkas-the-metamorphosis/
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