In Frank Kafka’s “The metamorphosis”, the main character, Gregor is portrayed as achieving his independence after transforming to a bug. Gregor led an uneventful life working as a salesperson in order to provide for his family since the collapse of his father’s business. His workmates teased him, and he did not have any friends. He hated his work but had to do it to support his family. Gregor’s transformation into a bug exposes his family’s true feelings about him, and he feels that they do not love him. When he discovers that his family wants to “get rid of him” (Kafka, 55), he prefers to starve himself to death so that he can stop being a burden to them.
In “King of the Bingo Game”, Ralph Ellison portrays the main character’s independence when he does not release the button because it makes him feel empowered to control his own destiny. Before the game, he felt hopeless he was hungry and needed money for his sick wife Laura (Pickering, 121). His independence came with the control he had over the spinning wheel and after winning the jackpot. In the North, he had no sense of self-reliance because he could not find a job for lack of a birth certificate. The game gave him confidence and control of his life hence, he called himself the king of bingo instead of using his real name.
Michael Chabon tries to bring out love in “The Lost World” when Nathan realizes that he could have had a chance at true love had he spent more time with Chaya. Nathan seeks independence in alcohol to try to forget his parents’ divorce (Chabon, 49). His drunkenness and the kiss he shared with Chaya offer him independence from the problems at home. His nudity and drunkenness displays his desperation. The note that she leaves him, makes him realize that their love would have been fruitful only if she did not go to Israel.
Gregor in “The Metamorphosis” is an outsider because he has no friends, hates his job and experiences detestation from his family after he turns into a bug. His workmates treated him like an outsider because none of them tried to befriend him. This exclusion made him an introvert and hopeless. After the transformation, his family sees him as a burden. Gregor came to terms with his new image but was distraught when he realized that his family was planning to get rid of him (Kafka, 55). After starving himself to death, his family celebrates by going on holiday.
Laura’s husband in “King of the Bingo Game” feels like an outsider because he cannot afford peanuts, wine and medication for her (Pickering, 121). The frustration comes in when he realizes that the movie characters can escape their predicaments, and he cannot. He embraces his isolation and participates in the bingo game to try to win some money for his wife’s medication. His winning is a good thing but annoys the audience because he took too long spinning the wheel. We are told that as the curtain comes down on stage, he is hit on the head.
In “The Lost World”, Nathan feels like an outsider given by his parents’ divorce. He is only a teenager and does not understand why he has to go through the painful process of watching his parents separate (Chabon, 49). He deals with his feelings by drinking and swimming in Chaya’s pool. His alienation earns him a kiss from Chaya, his childhood friend, and he realizes that she has changed so much. This drives him fall in love with her. Moreover, the note he receives from her makes him feel so depressed wishing that she did not have to go to Israel. He feels like an outsider because he believes that he deserves to be with Chaya even if he only sixteen.
Chabon, Michael. A Model World and Other Stories. London: Harper Perennial, 2008. Print.
Kuper, Peter, and Franz Kafka. The Metamorphosis. New York: Random House, 2004. Print.
Pickering, James H. Fiction 100: An Anthology of Short Stories. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall, 2001. Print.