Alienation and Capitalism in Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’

Disclaimer: This post has been by far my most popular, to the point where I feel I need to include this disclaimer. I would not be surprised if many people who arrive here are high school or university students. I want to say that this is not my best work; I think my reading is overly simplistic. I’m sorry if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, I remember how frustrating that could be as a student. But anyway, I appreciate you being here and I hope that you do find something of value for your learning.

If you’ve never read Kafka before, you might be a bit perplexed as you start The Metamorphosis. Gregor Samsa has woken to find that he has transformed into a ‘monstrous verminous bug’ (Kafka 1). As he struggles to get out of bed, the one thing on his mind is his job, and whether he can make it to work on time. At no point does Gregor question why he has transformed into a cockroach. As Kafka proceeds to describe Gregor’s “armour-hard back” and “brown, arched abdomen”, and Gregor reflects on how terribly demanding his work is, the absurdity of the situation escalates (1). The Metamorphosis serves as a dark critique of the dehumanising and alienating nature of capitalism.

Continue reading “Alienation and Capitalism in Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’”

Jane Eyre and Feminism: Role Subversion and Women’s Freedom | Part Two

There are a few significant feminist aspects of the novel that I want to make note of. Gender roles are frequently reversed: Jane helps Rochester when he enters the novel and falls from his horse, and saves his life when she wakes him from his fire-lit bed (reversing the typical damsel-in-distress/knight-in-shining-armour roles). Jane resists conforming to the feminine role society placed upon women at the time (which still creates pressure for women today). When Rochester asks her if she thinks him handsome, she bluntly replies, “No, sir” (instead of kindly flattering him), and upon their engagement, Jane does not allow Rochester to adorn her with expensive silks and jewels.

Rochester looks to Jane to save him from ruin and bring joy back into his life, but Jane maintains that they are each responsible for their own lives. She refuses to be a part of Rochester’s fantasy that she, in his eyes the “pure female”, can save him, telling him that she is “no angel”. Continue reading “Jane Eyre and Feminism: Role Subversion and Women’s Freedom | Part Two”

Jane Eyre Feminist Reading | Part One

Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte, is one of the many fiction novels that were written by female writers to change the way women were perceived in the 19th Century. Jane, a female character, is the protagonist. Written in first person, the novel gives readers an insight into the thoughts and feelings of a woman who lived during a time when women were largely seen as passive and selfless, and men used this dominant representation as an excuse to dominate over, control, and/or feel superior to women. Jane Eyre shows, through it’s strong protagonist, that women are equal to men and that men can never have power over women.

Jane experiences male attempt at domination within the first few chapters of the novel. Continue reading “Jane Eyre Feminist Reading | Part One”

Morality and the Responsibility of the Writer

“Fiction writers working with subjects which are morally and ethically contentious have a responsibility to develop a moral core in the story.”

It is inevitable that a writer of fiction will encounter moral dilemmas. Conventionally, fiction will contain a source of conflict that is caused by a clash between “good” and “evil”, or “right” and “wrong”. A work of fiction may contain a flawed protagonist, who makes morally unclear choices. Arguably, no good work of fiction will contain moral clarity. However, some works of fiction may cover more ethically contentious topics than others, generating concern about their ethical value and calls for a moral core. Continue reading “Morality and the Responsibility of the Writer”