Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The oppressive company Gregor works for

I was thinking that Kafka probably had a motive behind depicting the company Gregor works for as being so oppressive. That motive, I figured, was probably that he saw a lot of companies like it in society. As a writer, he certainly had time to view his surrounding society and as a law student probably saw the cut-throatness of the law firms and other businesses around him. Kafka wanted to take a few jabs at these companies in his "Metamorphosis". He also was probably affected by companies like this and it may have been a reason whey he decided not to be a lawyer, in addition to not doing it in spit of his father. Also, Kafka probably thought companies like those described above was certainly one of the downfalls of society and he most likely thought these companies were hurting the spiritual and emotional sides of humans who were oppressed in this type of society.


Austin Falk said...

I agree. Kafka's Metamorphosis did take place during the Industrial Revolution. More and more companies were expanding and expecting more and more out of their employees. I would imagine that the work conditions were not always ideal in these places. The industrial revolution took focus off the individual which would provide a reasonable explanation for why companies during this time would treat their employees in a more oppressive way.

TSHAH said...

i completely agree with you Ian. Kafka had also worked for an insurance company, so he must have been aware of the various harsh policies companies had in place to prevent having to play claims, or how their policies maximized profits, even at the cost of their own workers. The company director mentions that the best of economic times were not in place, and yet they expected Gregor to makes sales as if it were. If we take and economic perspective on this, when you lower the wages of your workers and offer them less pay (treat them like money making machines over actual people) their morale to work decreases, and productivity & output decreases along with it. Given this, when the entire economy is doing the same thing since we are now in the industrial age, we can understand why so many people are being oppressed.

Ben Bonner said...

With regards to what Tejas said, the comapany director did not expect Gregor's sales to be the same as they would have in normally economic conditions. He "freely conceded" that these weren't the best time for sales. In my opinion, Kafka is talking less about the economic situation of the early 20th century and more about the social and spiritual situation of society. The industrial revolution had come to pass decades ago, and the economic circumstances wouldn't have been much more different than they were two or three decades prior. I think Kafka, like Baudelaire, is trying to find a way to cope with the spiritual and emotional isolation they are experiencing in their society.