Compare and Contrast of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and The Stranger by Albert Camus
Existentialism is defined as a philosophical movement that human beings are completely free and responsible for their own actions. Existentialists will try not to cause waves and remain completely uninvolved with anyone because they do not want to hurt anybody. There is absolutely no such thing as an existentialist because he would have to be so uninvolved to the point where he would not be able to live at all. Although the two stories: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and The Stranger by Albert Camus are very different in approach, their endings are similar in that they both support the basics of existentialism.
The biggest difference between the two characters: Gregor and Mersault is their physical form. One has changed physically into a giant insect while the other remains a normal human being. Another difference is the situation between the characters and their mothers. Gregor wants to have a relationship with his mother but cannot because of his physical form. Mersault’s mother is alive and well for part of the novel, but he does not want to take care of her or have anything to do with her. The two characters are similar in the way that they do not believe in God and will both die lonely and abandoned.
Kafka creates a very lonely and abandoned world for Gregor Samsa in his short novel Metamorphosis. Gregor is an existentialist character who mutates into a giant bug without reason and no longer has any control over his life. He becomes completely uninvolved in the way that he does not talk or have any interaction with anyone inside or outside of the family. He is dehumanized. Gregor’s mother is disgusted by the looks of him and refuses to see or talk to him. Gregor is now lonely and abandoned by his family, does not eat and eventually dies.
In the short novel The Stranger, Mersault is also an existentialistic character. He does not wish to become involved with anyone, including God and his own mother and does not have any emotion what so-ever when she dies. Although Mersault does not want to become involved with anyone, he also does not want to create waves, thus he cannot help but to say yes to a friend when he asks him for help. He becomes susceptible to the physical. Mersault takes responsibility for his actions by being executed after he commits murder.
Both the stories’ endings support the basics of existentialism by demonstrating the following rules: responsibilities, loneliness, abandonment, no control, do not cause waves and the act of being uninvolved. Gregor and Mersault demonstrate all of these characteristics; however they do cause waves. As a result of Gregor’s metamorphosis his entire family must change their lives and Mersault creates waves by committing murder. Unfortunately, whether it be because of their existentialistic characteristics or not, they die.