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ANI10004 : Character And Environment

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ANI10004 : Character And Environment

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Course Code: ANI10004
University: Swinburne University Of Technology

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Country: Australia

Question:
This is a English (1200-1300) word limit essay. In the essay, you have to read two stories, one of them is the “The Horse dealer’s daughter” by ” D. H. Lawrence  “. And the another story is “The metamorphosis” by “Franz Kafka” . The main topic should be the characters and their environment. You have to compare/contrast the character “Mabel” from the story “The horse dealer’s daughter” with the character “Gregor Samsa” from the story “The metamorphosis”. Consider the influence of their environments –  domestic, natural, rural, urban, familial, social, economical – on them. Why do they (2 characters) behave in a particular way and why make particular choices ? Are their motivatiobs particulary external or internal ? In other words, To what extent are the character’s state of mind or psychologies influenced by outside sources and factors?
Answer:

The literary works of the various authors shows a profound influence of not only the times but also of the kind of environment in which they had to live the major part of their lives (McCormick 54-59). Furthermore, recent studies have also shown that there is a profound influence of the environment in which a particular resides or has been brought up on the kind of literary works that they produce. In this respect the various literary works can be seen as the social chronicles of the times in which they were written (McCormick 54-59). It is a reflection of this particular fact that the majority of the characters created by Thomas Hardy were rustics since he himself belonged to that environment, the characters created by D. H. Lawrence showed signs of the effects of the rural society of 19th and 20th century England, the characters created by Kafka showed the signs of the turbulent times to which he belonged and so (Mai 209). Furthermore, at the same time it is also seen that the environment has a profound influence on the individuals and this particular fact is being used by the various authors for the creation of memorable characters. This essay will analyze the influence the impact of environment on the characters of Mabel from the story “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” of D. H. Lawrence and Gregor Samsa from “The Metamorphosis” of Franz Kafka.
“The Metamorphosis” of Franz Kafka is a work which is redolent with the themes of existentialism, the struggle of man against a hostile environment and others (Sepp 15-17). The environment or the society thus plays an important role in the novella under discussion here and as a matter of fact is often viewed as a character itself (Sepp 15-17). The influence of the environment is most pertinently visible on the protagonist of the novel Gregor Samsa around whose transformation and its resultant effects the entire novella revolves (Kohzadi, Azizmohammadi and Nouri 1600-1607). It is significant to note that the oppressive as well as the caged environment in which he leads his life ultimately gives rise to the escapist tendencies inside him which finds its culmination in his actual transformation which is being described in the words “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect” (Kafka 1). Furthermore, the mundane nature of the environment is even more pertinent revealed in the behavior of the family members of Gregor, the lodgers and others in the story. Many experts have described the transformation that the protagonist undergoes in the novella as a way through which he tries to escape the sordidness of his existence in a hostile environment (Kohzadi, Azizmohammadi and Nouri 1600-1607). Furthermore, the hostile nature of the environment becomes even more pertinent in the lines “I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself” where he is even unable to communicate his basic feelings to the other characters of the story(Kafka 31). Moreover, the meager existence lead by him and the ultimate decision of the family to get rid of him and at the same time even celebrate his death also contributes in a significant manner towards the loneliness that he feels after his transformation (O’Connor 21-26). As a matter of fact he actually begins to realize the full implications of the mundane existence which he has been leading and how different routines have made up his life only after his transformation in the truest sense of the term and also the manner in which they have formed his character (O’Connor 21-26). It can be said that in this novella Kafka through the protagonist is trying to show the plight of the majority of the human beings who are being oppressed by the hostile environment in which they live.
The character Mabel from the story “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” of D. H. Lawrence is another one whose life as well as character shows the impact which the external environment wields on a particular individual. It is significant to note that the character of Mabel shows clear signs of the rustic nature of the 19th and 20th century England and the way society wielded a significant influence on the lives of the individuals (Jie 17-21). Mabel in the story is shown to be fighting against the hostile forces of society from the very beginning. For example, she has lost both her parents and is burden by various kinds of debts and even her own brothers do not care about her (Jie 17-21). She decides to commit suicide but is saved by a doctor who she thinks loves her and in this particular the lines “you love me, you love me, I know you love me, I know” (Lawrence 12). She seems that she is desperately trying to hold to something in life which she thinks can provide some semblance of hope in her otherwise hopeless life. However, once again society plays a significant role in her life since both Mabel and Jack are worried about the opinion of the society and thus try to suppress their emotions (Xiao-tian 80). She decides to win her fight against the hostile society by assuming the role of the dominator and enters into a relationship with Jack who in turn plays the role of the suppressed in the relationship (Jing 17). The character of Mabel has often by interpreted by the scholars in feminist lines and is generally considered to be one of the earliest literary creations that tried to defeat the hostile forces of the environment (Jing 17).
A close reading of both the texts would reveal the fact that the characters of protagonist of both of these texts have been molded to a great extent by the external environment of which they formed a part of. Furthermore, it also becomes clear that both of these protagonists have not got adequate support from their family members or for that matter from their domestic environment. The character of Mabel shows the influence of the rural environment whereas the character of Gregor shows the influence of the urban (Sepp 15-17). Furthermore, the economic factor has been a major consideration for both of these characters since it is seen that Gregor is required to cater to the financial needs of his family and when he is unable to do the same he becomes useless for them (Sepp 15-17). For Mabel, on the other hand, she needs to pay the debts of her family and had to even leave her home and stay with her sister (Xiao-tian 80). A pertinent fact to note about both these characters is the fact that not only the characters of both of these characters have been molded to a great extent by the external environment but at the same time they also undergo internal changes as responses to the external changes. For Gregor the transformation that he undergoes is in response to the external environment whereas for Mabel it is her love for Jack. Thus, it would be apt to say that the characters of both of these protagonists have been transformed to a great extent because of the external environment in which they had lived.
To conclude, the environment in which a particular individual resides has a profound influence on his or her character as the central characters of “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” by D. H. Lawrence and “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka reveal. It is significant to note that the central characters of both of these literary works are the victims of the hostile environment in which they reside. Furthermore, it is also seen that they have transformed their character in a significant manner so as to cope with the external environment and the harsh reality of their lives.
References:
Jie, Du. “DH Lawrence’s Feminine Consciousness in “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter”.” DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Science eemt (2017).
Jing, OU and Qin LIU. “An Analysis of the Theme and Images in DH Laurence’s the Horse Dealer’s Daughter.” Journal of North University of China (Social Science Edition) 3 (2012): 17.
Kafka, Franz. The metamorphosis. Modern Library, 2013.
Kohzadi, Hamedreza, Fatemeh Azizmohammadi, and Mahboubeh Nouri. “A study of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.” Journal of Basic and Applied Science Research 2.2 (2012): 1600-1607.
Lawrence, David Herbert. The Horse-Dealer’s Daughter. Feedbooks, 1922.
Mai, Anne-Marie. “Breaking New Ground–Danish Poets in the Intersection Between Modernism and Postmodernism.” Danish Literature as World Literature (2017): 209.
McCormick, Richard W. Politics of the self: feminism and the postmodern in West German literature and film. Vol. 1150. Princeton University Press, 2014.
O’Connor, Ciaran. “A Consideration of Kafka’s Metamorphosis As A Metaphor For Existential Anxiety About Ageing.” Existential Analysis: Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis 23.1 (2012).
Sepp, Hans Rainer. “Worldly-Being Out of World: Animality in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.” Environmental Philosophy(2014).
Xiao-tian, G. U. O. “A Narrative Reading of Love in Lawrence’s The Horse Dealer’s Daughter.” Overseas English5 (2013): 80.

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