Daniel Lundahl Jr. (Herbert)
Third Period English
Monday, November 25, 2013
The Metamorphosis, The Stranger, and Existentialism
One of the saddest aspects of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is the fact that young Gregor genuinely cares about his family. From the opening of the story, he is shown to be a person who works hard to support his family, even though they do little for themselves. When Gregor morphs into a cockroach, however, the limits of familial loyalty and empathy are tested. Gregor is an existentialist character who mutates into a giant bug without reason and no longer has any control over his life. He becomes completely uninvolved in the way that he does not talk or have any interaction with anyone inside or outside of the family.
In the short novel The Stranger, Mersault is also an existentialist type of character. He does not wish to become involved with anyone, including God and his own mother, and does not have any emotion whatsoever when she dies. Although Mersault does not want to become involved with anyone, he also does not want to create any trouble, making him unable to help but to say yes to a friend when he asks him for help. Mersault takes responsibility for his actions by being executed after he commits murder. The biggest difference between the two characters, Gregor and Mersault, is their physical form. Gregor changed physically into a giant insect, while Mersault remained to be a normal human being. Another difference is the situation between the characters and their mothers. Gregor wants to have a relationship with his mother but cannot achieve one because of his physical form. Mersault’s mother is alive and well for part of the novel, but he does not want to take care of her or have anything to do with her. However, the two characters are similar in the way that they do not believe in God and will both die lonely and abandoned.
All in all, existentialism is a philosophical movement where human...