Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Ever wondered what if one fine morning you wake up and realize you transformed into a horrible vermin? Weird right. That’s exactly what happened to Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ published in 1915. It says that this novel is clearly highly autobiographical in its content. To shed some light on driving themes one should make a brief examination of Kafka’s life, his beliefs, and his writing style. The actual story of this novel is a reflection of Kafka’s condition in his family. It’s only possible for Kafka to transform a man into an insect and develop the story with perfect realism and intense attention to detail. 

Gregor Samsa one morning found himself transformed into a huge insect, he considered this change as a temporary one or a dream, but he realized he’s unable to get out of his bed and stuck on his back. Gregor who works as a traveling salesman and cloth merchant and characterizes as being full of “temporary and constantly changing human relationships, which never come from the heart” he is the only sole breadwinner of his family with the weight of his father’s bankruptcy debt. When tried to Figure out things and get out of his bed he realised his manager and the office clerk came to check on him for his unexcused absence. When he tried to communicate with the clerk and his family, the only thing they could notice was incomprehensible vocalizations. Gregor drags himself and opens the door, by seeing his transformation the clerk flees his apartment, his family is horrified, his mom bursts into tears.his father tried to take him back into his room but instead he injured Gregor by shoving him when he got stuck by the doorway. 

They locked Gregor in his room. His family was deprived of their financial condition. Gregor accepted his new life and tried to adapt to his new body. His sister grete was the only one who used to see him in his room and bring him food but Gregor realised his favourite drink milk is not good for his mouth and he isn’t liking fresh food. He saw that he only had jaws instead of teeth. He soon started eating only rotten foods, and spending his time by crawling through the room and ceiling and sometimes hides under his couch when he notices someone is near his room. Grete comprehends that Gregor needs more space and decided to remove all the furniture without the couch he used to hide under but with the help of her mother but Gregor found it deeply distressing and the only thing he wanted to save was his beloved portrait of a lady on the wall. When he was crawling through the painting to save it, his mother got unconscious by a glimpse of him.When grete got out of his room to find some medicine to give it to her mother Gregor follows her and grete accidentally drops a medicine bottle and it slightly hurts. His father came back in the evening and was so angry that he started throwing apples to Gregor and it wounded him when some of them hit a sensitive spot in his back. 

After that day everything started changing, his father, mother and sister started taking jobs for their financial condition. Gregor suffers from his wound and starts taking so little food. Everyone’s behaviour changes by time, even his sister started serving him food with her foot on her way to work in the morning. She doesn’t clean his room, but they open the door of his room in the evening so he can listen to them but it stops when they give their room to three gentlemen and they didn’t know about Gregor. One evening grete started playing violin for the renters and by attracting to that Gregor got out of his room as the ‘charwoman’ who looks upon this house and Gregor once when she arrives and once when she leaves forgot to close the door completely. The renters notice Gregor and complaints for the unhygienic condition of this apartment and refuse to pay anything because of it and also may take legal action. Grete shouted at her parents and confronted them that if they didn’t get rid of “it” the! they’ll get ruined and how the burden of his existence puts on each member. Gregor realised he’s no longer needed. What then? 

This is a book that’ll not let you sleep and Picturing it leaves you tingling.  Although this isn’t a book with a happy ending. It’s a reflection of the realism of life. It’s all up to the reader how they’re gonna take its depth. But it’s something very dark and disturbing. It’ll be more understandable without categorising it into a particular illness or disease and more like a metaphor. I would like to give it 4.5 out of 5. Although it’s worth reading and something to remember.

-Ayesha Sarkar

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