The Metamorphosis is a 1915 novella by philosopher and renowned writer Franz Kafka. It tells the story of a lowly travelling sales man named Gregor Samasa, who wakes one morning to find that he’s transformed into a large, monstrous insect-like creature. It follows the aftermath of his transformation and how those in his family respond to him and his new condition.
While I enjoyed the novella, I found that I lost patience for some of the characters. My sympathy laid firmly with Gregor who had been changed into this monstrous being with no cure and no explanation of what happened to him. It seemed more than clear that his parents wanted nothing to do with him when this happened, they kept him around before the incident, only because he provided for them. His father treated him harsh because he had to go back to work to provide for the family and his mother regarded him with disgust and fear. At the beginning of the story, Gregor and his sister Grete, had a good close relationship, but her patience also ran out and she too began to mistreat his. I believe that this was from his parents, who had instantly decided to treat him this way and since they weren’t helping Grete take care of him, she became resentful towards him. His parents even go as far as to mistreat him, in one instance injuring him. Gregor is mistreated by most of the characters within the novella, such as his boss, but it hits harder when it is from his own family. Soon they have completely had enough and want to get rid of him.
The novella ends on a very sore note, the idealist in me wanted to see his family get their comeuppance, but not such relief was there. The parents now turn their attention to their daughter.
The Metamorphosis was originally written in German under the name Die Verwandiung which means the Transformation. It is known through the literary world as classic and has been studied in Literature classes. Kafka’s written in the original german was said to be almost lyrical, but it was lost a lot in the translation. Kafka was known for writing bizarre short stories that normally had explored the topics of alienation, guilty and absurdity. While I found it a frustrating, and sad story about a guy who worked so hard for his family and when he needed them they turned their back on him, I can see why this became a literary classic and I enjoyed it, I mean it would be very terrifying to wake on day and found that you were turned into a bug!
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