Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Comparison Paper Black Girl written by Sembene Ousmane and The Metamorphosis written by Franz Kafka has many similar characteristics. There are examples of alienation, imprisonment, keeping the house together, and the fact that they were both treated like part of the family until they are pulled out of the ordinary walks of life in to situations they have no control over. The two stories are alike in the fact that the main characters are put into abnormal situations and have no control over their lives.

Black girl focuses on a white American family living in Africa with black servants. When the family decides to move to France they want to take the servant girl, Diouana with them. Diouana is thrilled at the idea of this but does not realize the unhappiness she will come across when she moves out of a black country and into a white country. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa, a sales man wakes up one morning to find out that he has turned into a bug.

He is late to work and tries to get out of bed, but his thousands of legs will not allow him to move onto his back. His father and mother try to unlock his bedroom door while he tries to tell him in a voice that is not so human anymore that he is coming and will get ready as soon as possible. When his family finally see what he has become they no longer want to recognize that he is a part of them so they keep him locked up in his room where they soon forget about him.

In both stories there is a form of alienation. The black girl is alienated because she goes with the family she trusts and loves to a county where she did not understand at first what she would be doing. Unlike Africa, France treats the African American race like they are rats or unworthy of being with the white population. Diouana shortly realizes that she can no longer go out and talk amongst the people or have fun when she wants to because she has to stay with the children constantly. She cannot do anything outside the walls of the home. She is alienated within the walls of the people she trusted and loved.

In The Metamorphosis, Gregor is alienated within in own room and his family will not acknowledge the fact that he is a bug, so instead they lock him away and try to forget about him. The only person in his household that tries to help him is his sister. She brings him food and cleans up his room, but the time she is in there he hides under the couch because he is afraid to scare here. The person that alienated and hurt him the most was his father. His father physically hurt him as well as mentally hurt him. He will not tolerate anything from Gregor and refuses to see him. As far as he is concerned Gregor is dead to him. His whole family has turned against him in his time of need and all because he no longer posses the human form.

Along with being alienated they are both imprisoned in their homes. In Black Girl, Diouana is imprisoned because she has so many responsibilities that she cannot leave the house and even if she would leave the house the people on the other side of the door would treat her as though she was trash because she was black. Gregor's imprisonment is in his own room. His family keeps him in there so that neither they nor anyone else has to see him in the form of a bug. He has no way to escape so just like Doiuana he has no way out.

In the end of these short stories both main characters kill themselves. They kill themselves for the good of their families and for a way out of a hell they fell into. Doiuana jumps out of a window, but her family do not understand why. She did it because she was tired and could not take being treated like a slave. She had become an outcast to society and to the family that she once loved and cherished so much. In The Metamorphosis, Gregor just gives up and lets himself die. He hears his family talking about moving and leaving the house behind, but they cannot because of him so he stopped trying to live and finally dies.

The main characters in these short stories were put into abnormal situations, and then end up dieing because they were not accepted by society. Doiuana and Gregor are two fine examples of what can happen to people that are pulled out of a normal situation and placed in a bad one. They loved their families so much that they worked to keep the family together, but when they got into a bad situation their families were not there for them. Before you care for someone else make sure you care for yourself, Gregor and Doiuana were so busy caring for everyone else that when it came time that they needed so care for themselves they could not because they were too tired.