Coping With Alienation in "The Metamorphosis" By Franz Kafka, and in Jerzy Kosinski's "The Painted Bird"

Essay by phishstyxzCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2003

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In Franz Kafka's novella, The Metamorphosis, and in Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird, the protagonists are subjected to a societal alienation. However, Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis, and the boy in The Painted Bird, cope with this alienation through different tactics, and as a result, their success varies.

"When he lifted his head a little, he saw his vaulted brown belly, sectioned by arch-shaped ribs, to whose dome the cover, about to slide off completely, could barely cling. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, were waving helplessly before his eyes." Gregor Samsa has gone through a metamorphosis. This change has turned Gregor from a human being into a "monstrous vermin". Kafka expresses the anxieties and inner terrors, which fill Gregor's life, throughout the novel.

The novel opens with Gregor in his monstrous state, late for work. He infers that his job as a traveling salesman is very consequential, yet he is growing tired and frustrated, "The upset of doing business is much worse than the actual business in the home office, and, besides, I've got the torture of traveling, worrying about changing trains, eating miserable food at all hours, constantly seeing new faces, no relationships that last or get more intimate.

To the devil with it all!" Gregor has a great amount of fury towards his job, which eventually led to his anger towards society as a whole. The fact that his office manager showed up at Gregor's house plays an immense role in creating trepidation and anxieties in Gregor's mind. Gregor feels strangled by his job and is too weak to tolerate the pressure. In addition to the pressure created by his office manager and society, the Samsa's, especially Gregor's father, take advantage of him. Gregor earns the basic...