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Kafka Bureacratic Domestication

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University of Mohamed the 1st[pic 1]

Faculty of letters and Human Sciences

Department of English

Bureaucratic Domestication In Kafka’s the metamorphosis:

A spatio-cultural perspective.

Master :  Green Cultural Studies

Subject : Cultural Geography (S2)

Academic Year :  2017-2018

                  Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (1915), translated into English as the metamorphosis, is at once a breath-taking piece of gothic fiction, and a fascinating metaphor for the intolerances of capitalism. The novella revolves around the salesmen, Gregor Samsa, who woke up one morning and “found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin”. Such as the case with Joseph k’s charge in the trial, Gregor’s transformation is never justified. However, the nightmarish atmosphere of the plot, grants kafka the authorization to erase the boundaries between domestic space and bureaucratic culture.

It is noteworthy that the narrative is spatially restricted to the family’s household. The location of Gregor’s transformation situates the initial events of the plot in his bedroom; nevertheless, the peculiar soliloquy while perceiving his bodily change suggests that his only concern was getting to work on time. As the time passes, the fear of being late turns into an anxious expectation of visit from his workplace. Strangely enough, when the manager steps into the house and breaks into Gregor’s room, the family members seem to accept the terms of the visit without any protest. In fact, they urge Gregor to explain himself on the manager’s behalf. Likewise, the manager states his demand “in the name of” Gregor’s parents, presenting the family and the company as one unit, all of which render the boundaries blurred between the occupational mind-set and the domestic space illustrated by the apartment of Gregor’s family.

 Another prominent example of how the domestic geographical zone is bureaucratized in the metamorphosis can be observed in the role of the three lodgers. Their extremely business-like characterization represents them as faceless bureaucrats who dominate the family’s household, without sharing any intimacy. Following Gregor’s metamorphosis, more accurately in the family’s terms: his unemployment. The parents started to look for an alternative income, which ultimately led to offering lodging for money. The three lodgers’ power of paying for rent enabled them to occupy the family’s space despite the fact that they had nothing in common with the Samsas. Once again, the domestic space is invaded by unknown agents who represent the bureaucratic culture.

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