Literature and fantasy have long since been a means through which people have expressed their thought and the way in which they perceive the world around them. The imagination that people often have trapped in their mind be let free and expressed through world which results in the creation of a fantastical world in which any reader can get lost in. Through time, there have been those who have been able to articulate such fantastical world and tell intriguing stories that have captivated readers and audiences for generation. These writers have managed to produce works of art which have withstood the test of time and their stories have become literary classics that people from all over the world recognize and enjoy. One such author is the Franz Kafka. Kafka was a German short story writer and a bohemia novelist and is considered to be one the major influences and figures in the 20th century contemporary literature. Having written multiple works, Kafka is most notably known for his most famous work, ‘Metamorphosis’.
‘Metamorphosis’ is an allegorical novella which is the dubbed as Kafka’s most famous work of all. The story follows the life of the salesman Gregor Samsa, who one day finds himself to have inexplicably turned into a giant insect. The story follows the transition of Samsa and how not only his family and the ones close to him have to adjust to the horrifying relegalization of a human becoming an insect, but also the mental journey that Samsa himself undergoes has he is forced live as an insect while retaining the consciousness and rationality of a human. The story itself takes in multiple metaphors and questions of existentialism as the reader is able to see the world of Samsa change. The reader is able to place themselves in the perspective of Samsa himself which makes the story more real. The novella continues to remain under debate and critical discussion by critics due to the subjectivity of the different impression and interpretations that people are able to drives from this single story. ‘Metamorphosis’ consists of a wide number of the characters which give the story a sense of realism. The world does not feel empty despite the majority of the story taking place in the room of Gregor Samsa.
The story follows the character of Gregor Samsa who is a travelling salesman. One day he wakes up only to find himself being turned into a large insect. Throughout the story, the reader is never given any explanation or reason behind the sudden change. Looking around his room, he feels his new body only to be disgusted by it. Not being able to go to work, his life as a sales mane and recall how dreary it is and he would have quit a long tome back If his family were not so depended on his income. Finding that his voice has changed, Samsa is afraid of his family’s reaction to his new form as he hides in his own room while his family suspects that he is ill. When hearing his office manager has come to check on him due to him missing work, Samsa opens the door to this room with his mouth and in an effort to assure the office manager about his diligence, see his new form the office manager flees in horror while his father drives him back into his room with a cane and in the process injuring him and he goes to sleep in his room exhausted. After waking from his sleep. Samsa hinds that milk and bread at been kept at his door. Having the milk, Samsa realizes that he no longer has any taste for milk which was once his favorite. This is this one the first instances of him losing his humanity and realizing the fact that he is no longer what he was. Rather than milk, he is seen to be enjoying food scraps left by his sister. This marks the start of s routine in which his sister feeds him and cleans after him as he hides under his bed. Samsa begins to live his life getting comfortable in his new form while eavesdropping on his family discussion which consists of them expressing their distaste of his appearance.
Eventually, the family grows weary of having to constantly take care of the now ‘useless’ Samsa as his is no longer able to provide and his insect form is holding them back from living a better life. Realizing this Samsa eventually dies. After his death, his family make use of the saving that Samsa has accumulated during his time as an active salesman and decide to move to a better apartment. There his sister appears to get her strength and beauty back and the mother and father decide on finding her a husband.
The story itself is one which is anti-climactic in progression. Yet, through multiple readings of the text, there can be seen to be different and varying points which make the story unique. One of the most significant threads is the slow and eventual loss of humanity of Gregor Samsa. This loss of humanity d not only physical, as seen through his sudden change into a huge insect, but also emotionally. Samsa is seen to be a person who appear to appreciate beauty as depicted through his obsession with the poster on the wall. This is directly contrasted through his transformation and his clinging to the last bit of humanity has he clings to the poster which reminds him of the time when he was human. Similarly, there are plot point that relates to familial dependency and bondage, Samsa’s family is seen to be dependent on Samsa to provide for them. It is this need which has them tolerate his sudden transformation. But this patience soon runs out as they begin to wish for Samsa to be gone. One the other hand, Samsa makes it clear that it is his obligation this family which had kept him toed to the job of a salesman which he disliked.
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