Raise Serious Questions About Social Conventions English Literature Essay

Albert Camus ‘s The Outsider and Franz Kafka ‘s The Metamorphosis both considered to be literary chef-d’oeuvres challenge the philosophies associated with adult male ‘s being in a peculiar society who decides these societal norms. This essay discusses about the characters Mersault and Gregor who are in blunt contrast to the conventions of the society. Their behaviour is conflicting to the image of a normal adult male and shows that they do non follow the societal conventions. The Outsider narrates the narrative of a adult male who lives his life on his ain caprices and illusions and is detached from normal society, the effects of which is captivity that Camus portrays every bit farcical. In The Metamorphosis, the supporter Gregor Samsa finds himself transformed into a varmint, therefore transfiguring his life everlastingly and how it influences him to get a fresh position of his household and societal beliefs contrary to what he adhered to earlier.

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Gregor and Mersault find it hard to come to footings with these beliefs and life becomes suffering for Mersault after his female parent dies and Gregor, after he is out of the blue physically transformed into a varmint. On the one manus, the decease of his female parent does non concern Mersault and he does non demo any marks of mourning. He is to the lowest degree interested in go toing his female parent ‘s funeral and wishes that he was at his place in bed. When Mary Cardona asks Mersault to get married her, he does non demo any involvement in matrimony merely because he does non believe in societal committedness. Like him, his friend Raymond does non hold any regard for adult females either ; another thing they had in common were their cold and degage personalities.

In other words, Gregor and Mersault do non portion similar personalities but their quandary is the same. They find themselves caught in state of affairss where they respond in a manner which portrays their mental instability. Though Gregor is mentally sane, after his physical transmutation he notices a extremist alteration in his household ‘s attitude towards him while Mersault who is physically capable is internally disturbed and anomic. He is incapable of responding to societal norms ; he is an dreamer and can non associate to these norms. He has spiritually estranged himself from the society he lives in and does non belong to it. It has to be noted here that Gregor is n’t insensible to the state of affairss like Mersault but diminished to an unretrievable province.

They are work forces who merely live for themselves. After Mersault commits a slaying and is imprisoned, he gets several opportunities to alter his life and reconstruct some sense of balance in it, but alteration is something that Mersault hated. The apathetic attitude in “ Immediately after my apprehension I was questioned several times. But it was merely a affair of happening out that I was which did n’t take long. The first clip at the constabulary station cipher seemed interested in my instance. A hebdomad subsequently though, the analyzing magistrate eyed me with wonder. But to get down with he merely asked me my name and reference, my business and my day of the month and topographic point of birth. Then he wanted to cognize if I ‘d take a attorney. I confessed that I had n’t and inquired as to whether it was perfectly necessary to hold one. “ ( Lines 1-10-Chapter 2 is good reflected in these lines.

A ego centred and passionless character like Mersault did non believe in a life based on social norms. When tried to be taught soberness he misunderstands everyone. Likewise, Gregor is besides a degage individual, before being transformed into a varmint he did non hold many friends and had ever been a lone wolf by nature. Gregor ‘s whole life turns upside down after transforming into an insect. Before this physical transmutation he worked as a salesman who looked after his household and their demands to the best of his ability, but he felt lonely as he felt that his life revolved merely around the fact that he was the exclusive breadwinner of his household. His household does non outright cull Gregor after he turns into an insect but bit by bit they disapprove of his being and get down keeping a distance from him.

Wilhelm Emrich observes in his critical essay – ” he believed he had to supply his household with a pleasant, contented, unafraid life by giving himself, by selling himself to his concern. The mutual relationships are based upon secret computations and via medias, the effects which are no longer suspected by anyone. ”

Kafka portrays Gregor who does non desire to take his life based on a certain set of societal norms but he does non hold any other pick, his altering into a varmint possibly a consequence of this deep frozen dissatisfaction.

From a psychological point of position, both Mersault and Gregor feel neglected at an emotional degree and this greatly impacts their being in their several societies. They tend to gyrate up into their ain egos and garbage to open up. They feel emotionally banished by the society. There is an emotional vacuity in both of them which can non be fulfilled by conventional societal norms. They both feel betrayed by the society. Mersault is of delinquent nature and is non capable of exposing emotions like love, felicity and attention ; he can be coined as the perfect psychopath. On the other manus, Gregor ‘s physical transmutation has alienated him from his ain ego and his household. Initially, his household does look after him but bit by bit they get fed up and experience embarrassed by Gregor ‘s eldritch physical visual aspect. The firing inquiry here would be what function the society has to play with the province of head that Mersault and Gregor have? They both fail to link with their fellow human existences at a really basic and cardinal degree. Gregor is an foreigner among his ain people and Mersault is a societal castaway. The mental province of Mersault and Gregor ( after his being transformed into a varmint ) is that of rebellion ; they are seeking an single individuality of their ain and are happening the society around them and its mechanism cliched and one sided. Hence their head rebellions against this being and they decide to travel against it. Had Gregor non been transformed into an insect he would ne’er hold seen the true colors of his household and the society he lived in. Mersault has already given up hope on his societal being. He feels that he does non belong to this universe and his province of head does non give him any hope. He is excessively heartsick of his ain life that is the ground that he does non even raise any expostulation to his decease sentence. Gregor besides dies a pathetic decease ; he dies an insect ‘s decease because he was no longer of any usage to his household, he was an burden to them and he was at the terminal of his leash populating on their commiseration.


Camus and Kafka depict their characters who are estranged from the normal society. Gregor is physically unnatural and Mersault is mentally lacking. When one reads The Outsider and The Metamorphosis 1 is struck by this component of “ disaffection ” and it becomes the leitmotiv for the authors. Camus and Kafka, both are existentialist authors and through the word picture of their characters they ask serious inquiries to the designers of ‘society ‘ . Does the society ever have to hold an upper manus in make up one’s minding how our societal behavior should be? Make all societal conventions mean to be for the benefit of the human race or are they forced onto us without our accepting to it?

Foreigner is a authoritative dreamlike fabrication of how our life would be affected if we had to withstand our societal being and turn blind to it. Encapsulate WHAT METAMORPHOSIS MEANS TO YOU. Will we be allowed to do our ain regulations or can we populate our lives on our ain footings and conditions? Both Kafka and Camus force their readers to believe about life and human being from a different point of position and non yield to societal conventions that are forced upon us coevals after coevals.


Foreigner is a authoritative dreamlike fabrication of how our life would be affected if we had to turn blind to and withstand our societal being. Metamorphosiss means “ the physical alterations happening in an animate being or human being ; ” this alteration can be natural and it can besides be engineered with the aid of some signifier of supernatural scientific discipline. “ QUOTATION MARK WRONGLY PLACED For me metabolism does non hold to be a physical procedure entirely, it can be at a mental and religious degree besides. While we are turning up, we are transfiguring, physically and mentally ; from childhood to adolescence and so from adolescence to adulthood. Metamorphoses is a ne’er stoping procedure because if we refuse to turn we shall ne’er be able to alter, it is of import that we do non lodge onto our old beliefs, we must larn to instill new thoughts excessively, but this is non ever an easy proposition. Will we be allowed to do our ain regulations or can we populate our lives on our ain footings and conditions? Both Kafka and Camus force their readers to believe about life and human being from a different point of position and non yield to societal conventions that are forced upon us coevals after coevals.

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