Presentation Title

Blossoming Butterfly: The Evolving Family Dynamic in Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”

Presenter Status

Graduate Student, English

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Location

Buller Hall, Room 250

Start Date

24-5-2019 11:10 AM

Presentation Abstract

Franz Kafka’s family was full of duality: his father, a powerful and imposing figure, was a constant shadow on his life, while his mother’s side of the family was more inclined to the eccentric, exotic, freakish, and recluse. The simultaneous imposing rigidity and fluid whimsy of Kafka’s family had an impact on the creation of one of his most well-known works, “The Metamorphosis” (1915). Therefore, this paper will carefully psychoanalyze both Kafka and his work in an attempt to understand the significance of his craft. Psychological theories such as Murray Bowen’s Family Theory and Walter Toman’s Family Constellations when applied to the changing family dynamic in the novella help to answer some of the questions as to why the family was so quick to ostracize Gregor. Before Gregor’s transformation, there is an imbalance in the family unit once the son takes on the father’s role as the financial provider for the family. This imbalance is mirrored in Gregor’s physical transformation into a creature that is not completely man or bug. Just as Gregor is trapped in a state of imbalance, so is his family as they then try to find and function in new familial roles. It is only once Gregor’s presence is completely eradicated that stability is returned and the remaining family members can finally move forward and flourish. In effect, this reading suggests that for Kafka the rigidity of family roles must be maintained or the family unit withers and dies.

Biographical Sketch

Monica Shaar is a second year graduate student in the English department at La Sierra University. She teaches the first year composition series at the university and works as a tutor in the writing center. After earning her graduate degree, she hopes to pursue a career in publishing.

This document is currently not available here.

COinS
 
May 24th, 11:10 AM

Blossoming Butterfly: The Evolving Family Dynamic in Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”

Buller Hall, Room 250

Franz Kafka’s family was full of duality: his father, a powerful and imposing figure, was a constant shadow on his life, while his mother’s side of the family was more inclined to the eccentric, exotic, freakish, and recluse. The simultaneous imposing rigidity and fluid whimsy of Kafka’s family had an impact on the creation of one of his most well-known works, “The Metamorphosis” (1915). Therefore, this paper will carefully psychoanalyze both Kafka and his work in an attempt to understand the significance of his craft. Psychological theories such as Murray Bowen’s Family Theory and Walter Toman’s Family Constellations when applied to the changing family dynamic in the novella help to answer some of the questions as to why the family was so quick to ostracize Gregor. Before Gregor’s transformation, there is an imbalance in the family unit once the son takes on the father’s role as the financial provider for the family. This imbalance is mirrored in Gregor’s physical transformation into a creature that is not completely man or bug. Just as Gregor is trapped in a state of imbalance, so is his family as they then try to find and function in new familial roles. It is only once Gregor’s presence is completely eradicated that stability is returned and the remaining family members can finally move forward and flourish. In effect, this reading suggests that for Kafka the rigidity of family roles must be maintained or the family unit withers and dies.