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Literature: Representation; Making Sense of Society - Essay Example

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Literature: Representation; Making Sense of Society

The boundary between the 'normal' and 'abnormal' is influenced by culture, traditions and habits of readers. Following Greenblatt, culture is formed by: "gestures toward what appear to be opposite things: constraint and mobility" (Greenblatt 1995, 226). From the very beginning, Kafka introduces beliefs and cultural norms which will shape the novel. In spite of the fact that Gregor Samsa has transformed into an insect he cannot stop thinking about his chief at work and possible consequence of his 'sickness'. He comments: "The boss would certainly come with the doctor from the health insurance company and would reproach his parents for their lazy son" (Kafka 2003). In this case, the 'abnormal' are used as boundary which is close to us but which cannot be seen by common people. Transformations force the protagonist to look for new ways and methods to change his life. Fighting with personal prejudices and stereotypes, Gregor Samsa comes to conclusion that traditional knowledge limits understanding of the self and the world, and starts to seek for another source of his of personal culture.
The transformations renegotiate traditional boundaries between the 'thinkable' and the 'unthinkable' showing that our understanding and world perception is based on "beliefs and practices which function as a pervasive technology of control" (Greenblatt 1995, 226). ...
To some extent, the boundary between the 'thinkable' and the 'unthinkable' is based on readers acceptance or rejection of reality which determines the level of heroes evolution and transformations: "about one month had already gone by since Gregor's transformation, and there was now no particular reason any more for his sister to be startled at Gregor's appearance" (Kafka 2003).
Literature (and this novel) shows that people depend upon their own fears and terrors. Metamorphosis symbolizes that people are surrounded by unknown world they try to master and subdue, but in reality they are caught by their own prejudices and superstitions which prevent them to experience the world around. For instance, all people believe that transformations are impossible but through the character of Gregor, Kafka portrays that it can happen. On the one hand, these beliefs support 'the abnormal' created by society, but on the on the hand these beliefs symbolize narrowness of human mind and knowledge about the universe. It supports spiritual nature of Gregor and represents a determinant factor of his personal development. As the most important culture determines that "what is appropriate" for the society (Greenblatt 1995, 226).
Kafka's grasp of the subtleties of his environment is evident on every page of Metamorphosis, but the novel is far more than a mere description of events. For while deploying descriptive detail in the realistic way to build up a rich and convincing illusion of characters and the world they inhabit, Kafka turns realism against itself using the very same material to reveal through Gregor's increasingly painful alienation that the substance of this world is a sort of fiction even for the characters themselves, though most of them don't know it. His ...Show more

Summary

Literature is a unique 'environment' based on real and unreal events, the 'thinkable' and the 'unthinkable'. The novel Metamorphosis by F. Kafka vividly illustrates the boundary between the 'normal' and 'abnormal' helping readers to distinguish these two worlds…
Author : mazieleuschke
Literature: Representation; Making Sense of Society essay example
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