Qureshi Marxist Interpretation Of Kafka Essay

1898 Words Oct 29th, 2014 8 Pages
Marxist Interpretation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis
Mahum Qureshi
“For all things outside the physical world language can be employed only as a sort of adumbration, but never with approximate exactitude, since in accordance with the physical world it treats only of possession and its connotations.” –Kafka1

This paper looks at the philosophy of power, alienation and minor literature through an analysis Franz Kafka's short story, The Metamorphosis. In the story the protagonist wakes up as a giant, caterpillar-like creature, which ends up changing his life, job and family relationships. The underlying themes are alienated laborer and exercise of power through mind control. The basis is Karl Marx’s chapter on Estranged Labor and the concepts
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The reader is not told how the transformation happened or why; the life changing event just happens without warning. His life should have turned upside down but instead he is expecting everything to remain the same. The melancholy of his life is that he works hard just, to quote a popular song, “trying to make ends meet you're a slave to money then you die” (The Verve). His “self-identity is construed by [his] role in society and especially how other people treat [him]” (Jahanbegloo).
Hegemony can be defined as “the permeation throughout society of an entire system of values, attitudes, beliefs and morality that has the effect of supporting the status quo in power relations” (Burke). Ultimately it is the power discourse, “the philosophy, culture and morality of the ruling elite” that establishes itself in society “as the natural order of things” (Burke). The greatest power hegemony is produced with the greatest level of mind control over the masses. This hegemony and thought control the powerful exercise over the workforce can be seen through the evolution of Gregor’s thought. Without the consent of the majority, including laborers, power faces the threat of being dismantled. Like Gregor remarks about his porter as being “a creature of the chief’s, spineless and stupid” (Kafka 3), other “chiefs” need such people to remain in power since “power cannot define itself without the powerless” and “authority needs masses to

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