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The Absurd

This posting examines the absurd and answers these questions:

How do the characters react to the absurd?

What can we say about the characters and even broader, the human condition, based on that reaction?

Hunger Artist
Before the Law
In the Penal Colony
The Stranger
The Plague

Solution Preview

As you prepare for your exam, please allow these ideas to guide you:

Kafka uses this "absurd" concept in "Metamorphosis" to advance his theme. Please notice how he examines the human condition and ponders the meaning of human existence throughout the short story. Kafka thoroughly explores alienation of the self from society through the Gregor's various transformations. Please also examine how Kafka's use of fantastic elements highlights Gregor's attempt to fit into society. Kafka comments on how humans are socially isolated in this modern world.

In terms of the human condition, please note that "Metamorphosis" represents the individual's plight from these suffocating social parameters. Kafka uses fantasy and the absurd to demonstrate a sense of alienation from society. The use of Gregor's transformation from human to insect shows this fantastical change. The short story exposes absurd revelations about everyday life. For example, this story seems to parody how humans working diligently not just to please ourselves but others. Gregor's character further comments not only the nature of modern life but also the modern work condition. When the Gregor wakes up and discovers that he is unable to move, work, or function, a role reverse occurs; he becomes fully dependent upon his family to care for him. Please note that Gregor also seems to exemplify the very cause of his own suffering, which is absurdism.

Again, in terms of the suffering human condition, please examine how Gregor's "metamorphosis" forces him to question his identity as both human and insect. The symbolism here reiterates that
although he is an insect, Gregor still feels compelled to perform routine human ...

Solution Summary

The portrayal of the Absurd is discussed in literature.