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The central protagonist Gregor Samsa adopts asceticism as a personal code in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. To cope with the harsh reality of transforming into a vile, detestable insect, Gregor chooses to ignore his appalling bug-like body, and channels his attention and energy altruistically, aiming to promote the benefit of his family to the highest level. By abiding by the code of asceticism, Gregor is able to ignore his astounding transmutation and sanely live his life as normal, thus allowing him to retain his dignity as a son and brother to the Samsa family. Ultimately, despite his deformation, Gregor displays signs of altruism by acting out of interest for his family. This literary analysis intends to identify the underlying asceticism and altruism of Gregor Samsa’s persona. The ascetic postulate depicts a life practicing abstinence from worldly pleasures, through purification of the body and soul to attain a higher level of spirituality. Ascetics may attain this inner peace through dispositions such as self-mortification or self-denial that ultimately lead to discovering greater freedom in other aspects of life, such as expanded clarity of thought. Due to Gregor’s appalling transformation and consequently lack of joy or happiness, Gregor adopts asceticism to cope with this surreal event, and to search for greater spiritual meaning. Throughout The Metamorphosis, Gregor appears to be ignorant and nonchalant concerning his overwhelming alteration. Rather, Gregor seems to be more engaged and preoccupied with the well-being of his family. Despite his transformation, Gregor appears to be placid and composed. “…He [Gregor] was thoroughly aware of being the only one who had kept calm.” The self-denying attitude of Gregor can be juxtaposed to the Post Modernist author Franz Kafka himself, accounting for his weak lanky body frame and ill health in the physically
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