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In “Dracula” and “Metamorphosis,” Bram Stoker and Franz Kafka existing different perspectives of a community. In both novels, characters face fantastically similar experiences by facing unexplainable monsters however react differently depending on one’s perception of the community. Notably, in each books, some characters metamorphose into threatening monsters causing others to take drastic actions. In “Dracula” Dracula and Lucy transform into vampires while Gregor in the “Metamorphosis” adjustments into a giant insect. While different characters in both texts react differently, it is the reactions of Van Helsing and Gregor’s father that are of utmost interest. Through the response of Van Helsing and Gregor's dad, Bram Stoker suggests that the neighborhood is highly valuable while Franz Kafka shows that individuals’ interests are more valuable than a community.
Similarities of Character’s Experiences and Authors’ Perceptions of Community
Despite the fact that “Dracula” and “Metamorphosis” are books of different genres, they have similar settings and themes. In both films, characters encounter strange creatures that threaten their existence. Van Helsing faces Dracula, a vampire that is cunning, manipulative, and committed to nurturing a generation of monsters at the expense of humankind. Similarly, in “Metamorphosis” characters face an unexplained monster when a hardworking salesman, Gregor, wakes up as a giant insect. Characters in both "Dracula" and "Metamorphosis" wonder how to cope with the new monsters. To Bram Stoker and Franz Kafka, the emergence of monsters proves that communities are absurd, irrational and chaotic. Notably, in both cases, characters encounter unique monsters which emerge under unclear circumstances.
Differences of Authors’ Opinion on the Value of Community
While Bram Stoker and Franz Kafka agree that the world is dynamic and chaotic, they have different views on the value of the community. On the one hand, Bram Stoker, through the character of Van Helsing, suggests that community is valuable and worth saving. Van Helsing dedicates his knowledge, time, and skills to protect the community. For instance, after a vampire bites Lucy, Van Helsing brings the patient some garlic plants. His dedication to saving humanity is evident in his determination to heal Lucy as well as hunt down and destroy Dracula. Authoritatively, Van Helsing says, “No trifling with me! I never jest! There is a grim purpose for what I do, and I warn you not to thwart me. Take care for the sake of others if not your own” (Stoker 122). Based on this character's reaction, it is evident that Bram Stoker values the community more than individual interests. When Van Helsings conquers Dracula, Bram Stoker emphasizes his belief that good prevails over evil in the community.
On the contrary, based on Gregor’s father’s reactions to his son’s transformation, it is evident that Franz Kafka has a low opinion of the community. To him, the community is hostile, unkind, and unrewarding regardless of an individual’s efforts (Kafka 23). In “Metamorphosis” Gregor’s father harbours feelings of revulsion towards his son. Mr. Samsa is not concerned that of his son’s transformation but the lost source of income (Kafka 42). Although Gregor worked hard to pay off his father’s debts, Mr. Samsa considers his son a liability. Franz Kafka dismisses the value of community by showing people’s ungratefulness. The author's disregards of the community may have developed from his poor relationship with his father.
Although Van Helsing and Gregor’s father both experience unexplained monsters, their differences in reactions alludes to the authors’ opinions on the value of community. Notably, Bram Stoker, through Van Helsing considers the community to be highly valuable and worth saving. The character dedicates himself to helping people with his knowledge and protecting the community for Dracula the Vampire. By contrast, Franz Kafka considers the community of little value since it consists of selfish and unkind people. To him, individual interests surpass those of a community.
Kafka, Franz. The metamorphosis. Berlin: Schocken Books, 1948.
Stoker, Bram. Bram Stoker's Dracula Unearthed. New York: Desert Island Books, 1998.
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