Epistemology in The Metamorphosis and Solaris.docx - Laura Laufer Epistemology in The Metamorphosis and Solaris Franz Kafkas work The Metamorphosis and

Epistemology in The Metamorphosis and Solaris.docx - Laura...

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Laura Laufer Epistemology in The Metamorphosis and Solaris Franz Kafka’s work, The Metamorphosis, and Stanislaw Lem’s work, Solaris , are seemingly different when first compared. The first difference is the scale in which epistemology is inferred through misguided conclusions. Where the Samsa family failed to understand their changed son, the methods of scientific discourse developed by brilliant men, failed to understand an amorphous consciousness encased in a planet’s ocean. Solaris and Gregor take on the same role, which is, that which is incapable of being truly understood. The state in which Gregor and Solaris exist is that of an abstracted muteness. These characters show that we are forever captive and limited by the structure of our minds (Solaris) and bodies (The Metamorphosis). The differences in setting and plot are gauze that surround the bodies of these works. In moving past the different layers of these books, similarities arise. Both authors use epistemological solipsism as a means to communicate how the acquisition of knowledge is restricted and inherently shaped by paradigms of perception, the unconscious, and institutions of society. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa wakes to find himself “transformed into an enormous bug” (11). This corporeal change works as a keystone for an epistemological change for every member of the Samsa family. Gregor’s metamorphosis is recognized by his family with varying degrees of emotion, ranging from reluctant consideration to distain. Their reactions to Gregor’s change work as a direct indicator of how they understand the world around them at the beginning of the story and the degree in which they move through their epistemological metamorphoses. The most important aspect of Gregor’s change is not that he transformed into a large bug, but that “his speech [is] no longer intelligible” (19). Confined by the impossibility of verbal communication Gregor is trapped inside himself. His lack of voice, but continued comprehension of language creates a paradigm in which Gregor is consciously existing and understanding the world around him, but is unable to indicate to his family that he is himself.
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