In The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien and “ The Metamorphosis ” by Franz Kafka, the chief characters, Norman Bowker and Gregor Samsa, portion a similar load brought on by both their household ‘s outlooks and society. Each character trades with the load in their different environment ; Norman ‘s outlook is to be an ideal hero of a soldier during the Vietnam War while Gregor ‘s outlook is to be an amazing boy that sacrifices for his household. Both giving their lives to make these criterions, but nevertheless, the tragic result in the terminal remains the same.
In “ The Metamorphosis, ” Gregor wakes up and sees that he is a mammoth, horrid insect. Erratically, the first idea that comes to his head is non the hideous status that he finds himself in but instead his occupation as he asks himself, “ how am I traveling to work? ” ( Kafka ) . The load that his household topographic points on Gregor controls the manner he lives his full life. Not merely does Gregor transport the weight of financially back uping his household in the present – he besides must cover with his male parent ‘s past debts. Gregor ‘s male parent, Mr. Samsa, pushes all of his duties for the household on to Gregor as the exclusive supplier, smothering his boy with jobs forestalling him from happening individualism and populating his ain life. Once he turns into a bug Gregor felt he had freedom and power over his life for the first clip, “ he now had his organic structure much better under control than once and even such a large autumn did him no injury ” ( Kafka ) . His life seems in some ways better than his life earlier. As a human, Gregor is stuck in an alienating occupation he strongly dislikes and has the load of back uping a household he does n’t even experience near to. As an insect, he is free from his occupation and household duties. Critic Sheldon Goldfarb remarks on this act metaphorically, “ in some ways, his life as a bug is the life of a unworried kid. He even heals faster than he used to, as a kid would ” ( Goldfarb ) . Gregor has been giving his full life paying off his household ‘s debts and worrying all the clip about the future fundss. But now, alternatively of caring for his household, they have to care for him.
As a consequence, the torture of his household ‘s rejection is worse than his transmutation into an insect.A Literature critic David Berona explains how society and the single affect each other, proposing that “ The deduction of the denial is that merely when the household, or society, refuses to acknowledge the true nature of Gregor as the nauseating facets of otiose life, can life stay tolerable ” ( Berona ) . In other words, even after watching Gregor easy and distressingly perish, his household merely feels alleviation that “ it ” is gone. In this short narrative, as Gregor ‘s male parent was throwing apples at Gregor after their pursuit, one gets stuck in his dorsum, doing him unbelievable hurting and torment. As Gregor comes closer to his decease, the apple becomes more of a load to him, typifying his sudden realisation that he can no longer make anything for the household any longer and that he is basically useless and a load on them, “ the strong belief that he must vanish was one that he held even more strongly than his sister, if that were possible. ” ( Berona ) . Gregor realizes that he was non merely mistreated but besides neglected by the people he had devoted his life to taking attention of. The apple putrefactions on Gregory ‘s back even after his decease because no one even respects him plenty as an insect to take it for him. His household made this hurt, and refuses to take it off from him.
Like Gregor and his heavy load, in The Things They Carried, the soldiers non merely carry touchable points during the Vietnam War but besides emotions. Beyond M-16 ‘s and letters, beyond M & A ; M ‘s and tranquillizers, these work forces besides carry their fright, artlessness, high criterions as an single and of each other. Norman Bowker carries the burden of personal outlooks he places on himself by his community. He struggles and strives to populate up to his male parent ‘s and society ‘s position of a hero. In the novel, the chapter “ Spin ” addresses Bowker ‘s relationship with his male parent when he rolls over in his bed and says, “ I ‘d wish for my pa to compose me a missive and say it ‘s all right if I do n’t win any decorations. That ‘s all my old adult male talk about, nil else ” ( O’Brien 36 ) . Norman wins seven decorations based on his bravery combat in the warfront, yet he sees them non as decorations of award, but as loads alternatively. Because his male parent ‘s regard and plume depend more on the figure of decorations his boy wins, instead than the experiences and forfeits Norman suffers through in the war, Norman views the decorations as meaningless and inappropriate, and it is difficult for him to admit his male parent ‘s regard for them at all. Every clip Bowker tries to explicate the truth and narratives of war to his male parent, he points out Bowker ‘s decorations “ Well, anyhow, there ‘s still the seven decorations ” ( O’Brien 154 ) , blatantly disregarding the lay waste toing cost his boy paid to acquire those decorations.
The community ‘s and his household ‘s rigorous degree of outlook has a dramatic consequence on Bowker when he comes place and faces feelings of ineptitude and uncontrollable guilt from the war. Norman enters the war as a vernal immature adult male with high outlooks for himself in life but foliages and returns place with a changeless sense of guilt, untold narratives constructing up indoors, and a feeling of insignificance. Critic Katie O’Conner remarks on the soldiers ‘ outlooks – a major subject of the fresh – and states that “ O’Brien cocks home the sarcasm that these work forces are all so frightened of being cowards that they ‘re willing to decease ” ( O’Conner ) . Once he comes place after contending in the war, Bowker discovers that he can non portion his war experiences with anyone in the community, “ as he explains the worlds of war to such individuals, they interrupt by congratulating his decorations, as a manner to hush his rattles about such truths as the decease of Kiowa and what it is like to hit another adult male ” ( Harris ) . Before the war Norman enjoyed little conversations with his girlfriend, hanging out with his school friends and merriment auto drives around the lake in Iowa ; finally he hangs himself in the cabinet room of a YMCA because he is unable to happen significance in his life after contending in the war.
Although one narrative genre is fantasy and the other is fiction, the chief character from each portion a related struggle: that of adult male versus society. Norman and Gregor face the same load of seeking to make a set of criterions assigned to them by their household and society alternatively of concentrating on developing their ain lives as an person. They end their lives in calamity as a consequence of failure to carry through those high outlooks put on by their environment because they can non stand up to it and deceasing is the best solution run off for reprieve and purdah.