Metamorphosis is a short story written by Franz Kafka. It’s written over a century ago, yet many people today can somewhat relate to the transformed Gregor Samsa.
Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect. His mind is filled with the worry about getting late to work. How is he supposed to explain his odd and strange situation to those around him?
Gregor works as a travelling salesman. He is the bread winner for his family and feels stuck in a monotonous routine that he has come to accept as everyday reality. He mindlessly follows the routine but after being transformed. His is a predicament! As an insect, he struggles to get up from the bed and get ready for work. Never being late, his manager shows up. After he finally manages to open the door, his dad pushes him back into the room with a stick seeing his horrible sight. Nobody seems to understand his speech. His insect sounds leave him feeling alone suddenly.
His family realises that their son has been transformed into an insect. However, they don’t know what to do to change him back or what help to get him.
Many of us at times feel like the insect stuck in a circle, routine or circumstances beyond which there is no life. Or if there is, there is no stepping outside. Here the insect from my point of view means Gregor has turned useless and is not a commodity useful to those around him anymore.
If in real life, it weren’t transforming into an insect, many people are suddenly left feeling alone and useless after tragic accidents or life circumstances.
Though it is an interesting concept, and indeed that many battle within their lives and minds. I think Franz Kafka also wrote this story because of his own personal life. He felt like an insect after he failed to live up to his father’s expectations.
Furthermore Gregor’s family suffers from deteriorating living standards as the bread winner goes out of work. His family is forced to work. He is left alone in his room. Inside the room, Gregor is looked after for some time by his sister but then upon, new tenants moving in the house and things moving forwards rapidly, everyone seems to forget about Gregor and instead speak about the nuisance that the insect is causing them. The tenants leave the house after they threaten to sue Mr. Samsa but he forces them out.
In the end Gregor dies a lonely death.
When I think about the insect that Gregor turns into, it sounds awfully depressing viewing life from such perspective. It makes me wonder a century ago, why Franz Kafka thought like an individual who didn’t seem to have a purpose in life. It seems that Franz Kafka was full of doubts, confusion. Even though he wrote many series of novels, he didn’t publish any of them. Despite having a Jewish heritage, Franz Kafka was disconnected from his community, beliefs and sense of higher being. Mind you, I am only contemplating about this story and Kafka’s way of thinking in particular. This story is filled with symbols and metaphors to me. The main metaphor being Gregor turning useless and a burden referred in the story as an insect. I found this other review quite good on Franz Kafka himself. One thing for sure, Metamorphosis caused me to look into and read on who Franz Kafka is. I have heard his name in many online lectures and videos. In understanding the author, I want to understand what he has written about. But I am pretty sure, all of this might swiftly change or transform into something else once I pick up another one of his books that dives into a different theme.
In summary, I cannot grasp Kafka’s thinking by just reading Metamorphosis, I would have to read more on Franz Kafka himself and read more of his books to figure out what other themes and ideas he delves into.