The Theme of Family and Duty in The Metamorphosis

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The Theme Of Family And Duty in The Metamorphosis

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Life is not just a routine pathway to the next offer or decision that awaits a person. Each morning, people wake up thinking about how predictable their life may be. They can brush their teeth, get their hair done, put clothes on and get out of the house all by the same time every day, to get to the same place, every day. However, Franz Kafka, author of novella, “The Metamorphosis” and Peter Kuper, author of graphic novel, “The Metamorphosis”, gave a different view on life, as they developed the storyline of a person, Gregor Samsa, missing out on his daily routine one morning due to a strange bodily change of him becoming a cockroach. This threw off his every day routine of getting out of bed, cleaning up, and getting to work on time, as it was his obligation to do so. This in turn, upset him very much, and it shows his parents concern, as well. The theme of family and duty is a key way, to notice the apprehension the characters’ face, within the text and the graphic novel.

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Family and duty goes a long way, in a household. The relationship between a family strengthens the cause of the family’s love. Kafka wrote, “If I didn’t have my parents to think about I’d have given in my notice a long time ago…” In comparison, Kuper stated, “Once I’ve gotten the money to pay off my parents’ debt to him- in five or six years at most- then I’ll cut myself free!” Both of the statements have the same meaning and hold the same value to the accompanying text. To add to that, both quotes stated the importance of paying off his parents’ debt. This can create a sense of duty towards Gregor specifically, because he seems to be the only one in the family with a stable job. With Gregor turning into such an awkward insect, it makes it harder for Gregor to work through his duties that withhold him. His family, too, depend on him to fulfill each request given through his job, so he can eventually finish the payments due from his family members. The insect Gregor morphed into, symbolizes his importance of life. Just as a cockroach, Gregor has jobs to keep up with family members to care for, but the realistic perception of a roach’s life is of little value to the rest of the world. Roaches are able to endure through millions of years of natural and nuclear causes, yet can die at the foot of a human. Similar to a roach, Gregor was able to uphold all of his problems and still he lost his meaning within his family, only because he was unable to succeed at fulfilling his families’ duties. At the foot of his boss, he figuratively died, by him being stepped on from someone superior to him, just as roaches to humans.

As aforementioned, Gregor was used to his routine of work, whether he enjoyed it or not. Noticed by many, the structure of both written and pictured sources correspond with the timing of the story. The focus of the articles given, were on Gregor trying to make it to his job on time to maintain his duty in his household and support his family, yet the authors allow the audience to grasp the idea that these minor events are happening over a long period of time. To clarify, each event within the text talks about something anybody could do within minutes. For instance, it took Gregor most of the story to get out of bed. In reality, this would take a person a minimal amount of minutes to do. The exaggeration of each event relates to both of the authors use of Kafkaesque writing. The amount of time used to depict the story through the graphic novel seemed to have gone by much faster, then when reading the novella. This only may be, due to the fact that the novella included more words. Because of this, reading it may have taken a longer time to comprehend, while the pictorial view may have been easier to process. Time is a big key point in this entire story. Gregor mentions multiple times throughout the novella and graphic novel, how he would have already been at work, had he not been morphed into a cockroach. When reading the stories, if the audience is not fully aware of the time of day it is, then it may seem like it is taking him extremely long periods of time to explain one thing, while in reality, trying to express a thought through an image or piece of writing can be difficult. Both Kafka and Kuper, do an excellent job at managing chronology of the story.

In conclusion, these different styles in writing impact the theme in multiple ways. Kuper’s use of the modernized text allows the audience to understand the meaning more easily, which also allows the reader to make thorough connections to the theme of both stories. His language is effective in expressing the same points as Kafka, while being able to have visuals along with the writings. The graphic novel, although not using all information from the original story, held a sufficient amount of text to support each depiction within the story. When Kafka states, “However hard he threw himself onto his right, he always rolled back to where he was. He must have tried it a hundred times, shut his eyes so that he wouldn’t have to look at the floundering legs, and only stopped when he began to feel a mild, dull pain there that he had never felt before.” In comparison, Kuper, within eight frames of the graphic novel, was able to depict Gregor tossing and turning to get on his right side. So, the two ways being shown allow the audience to receive the same emotion, but with more efficient evidence to maintain the same understanding. Family and duty are two parts of the theme of the story and were the most important topics of the story for the authors to address. Gregor’s duty in his family was to get to his job every day, but he is unable to succeed, one time. This just goes to show that, no matter how hard one may try to pursue goals in and outside of family matters, they may not always gain success. Both authors did an excellent job at expressing the theme of the text, through their different styles of writings.

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