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Two Outcasts Essay

The metamorphosis is a great book by Franz Kafka; it’s basically the story of a hardworking traveling salesman who wakes up as a cockroach. The book takes the reader through Gregor’s life after he has turned into a roach. Kafka allows us to get into Gregor’s thoughts and pretty much analyze what he must be going through after his transformation. Blue line incident is a short poem by Jacob Saenz. The poem describes a night on the train in Philadelphia. The poem is about the narrator and a stranger who he sees on the train, who happens to be a gang member selling cocaine. There are many differences between the metamorphosis and the blue line incident. Where one character is a traveling sales man in the metamorphosis, the main character in blue line incident is a young student.

The poem takes place on a train where as the book takes place in a home. In the end of the metamorphosis the main character dies as in the poem the main character talks about killing a complete stranger that he saw on the train. Despite these and many other differences between the book and the poem, when looked in much deeper they both have a lot in common; there are many similarities between the two. One of the major themes that the book and the poem share in common are the two main characters’s being an outcast. Both characters seem like people who are neglected and not much cared for. Even though the metamorphosis seems a lot different from the Blue line incident, there are in fact quite similar.

Even though all the differences between the metamorphosis and the blue line incident, the theme of both character’s being an outcast is visible to the reader. In the poem the main character or the narrator seems to be in a heavily gang influenced neighborhood. In the poem Saenz says “I was just a brown boy in a brown shirt, head shaven w/fuzz on my chin, staring at treetops & rooftops seated in a pair of beige shorts”(Saenz Line 12-14) This suggests that the narrator was a young boy in a private school uniform. He is riding the train wearing his uniform and is describing a person on the train that is selling “coke” to passengers. The person selling the drugs on the train happens to be from a gang called the kings. In the poem the narrator describes himself as a “Bunny let lose”(Saenz Line 14/15), upon further research, it turns out that a rival gang in the area where the narrator is riding the train also uses a bunny as a mascot.

He later in the poem describes how his “block” a recent branch to the kings territory by saying “then boast about my block, a recent branch in the Kings growing tree”. The fact that the narrator is wearing a private school uniform and riding the train in an area considered the “ghetto” tells the reader that he doesn’t belong there. Private school costs a lot of money; people who live in the ghetto tend to live there because they cannot afford to move to a better and safer neighborhood. The fact that he called himself a bunny also points to the fact that he could have been a gang member himself. Gang members usually don’t go to school, yet alone private schools. The fact that he is in private school and he is trying to better his life, yet he still lives in a neighborhood that is a highly gang affected portraits that narrator is an outcast in his life. In the book Gregor used to be a traveling salesman, however since the fact that he has turned into a cockroach I also consider him to be an outcast.

He is not just a regular cockroach instead he is a giant cockroach. He author writes in the book “he found himself changed into a monstrous cockroach in his bed”(Kafka 87). He tries to do human things, yet he is unable to do them, in the first part of the story, when Gregor first wakes up and then he tries to open the door go outside his room, the entire process of him getting to the door and trying to open it and the amount of time he took to open the door. Gregor had to use his mouth to turn the doorknob. The whole entire fact that he is no longer human and is unable to do regular things help conclude the fact that he is an outcast.

In addition, in the first part of the story when the Gregor’s office manger first sees Gregor the office manager is terrified and rushes out of his house. When Gregor’s mother first sees him she faints. Gregor’s father shoves him through the door and slams the door on him, even when he is injured. All these events would help persuade a reader that Gregor is an outcast. The theme of both characters being an outcast is apparent in both the book and the poem as in the poem the narrator is a private school student who lives in the ghetto and might have been an ex- gang member and Gregor who turns into a cockroach and he is now a terrifying giant cockroach and he is unable to do simple everyday task that anyone can do.

Despite all the major differences between the metamorphosis and the Blue line incident, they both have similar themes. Despite all the differences between the two it was hard to find multiple similarities between the two, yet this theme of the character’s being an outcast was fairly visible in both works of literature. I personally believe that the metamorphosis is a great work of literature. It can make one reflect on their own lives and see how what one is capable of. If you haven’t read the metamorphosis I would highly recommend to all to read that book.

Works Cited

• Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories. New York: Penguin, 2008. Print. • Saenz, Jacob. “Blue Line Incident.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, Nov. 2012.


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