Metamorphosis

By Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (3 July, 1883 - 3 June 1924) was an Austro-Hungarian writer of novels and short stories and is considered as one of the major figures of the 20th century literature. A major characteristic in his works is the fussion of elements of realism and fantasy, typically with the addition of isolated protagonists faced by bizarre or surrealistic predicaments.

Kafka didn't lead a life out of the ordinary, yet there were still certain peculiarities characteristic from his life. On the psychological aspect, Kafka wasn't exactly okay. Not only did he suffered from depression, but he also from schizoid personality disorder and anorexia nerviosa. He even fell into the suicidal spectrum from time to time.

Even though he had always been a brillliant writer, only a few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime. Actually, his most famous works were published until after his death at the hands of starvation caused by laryngeal tuberculosis.

Summary

It all begins when Gregor Samsa wakes from a troubled sleep. Gregor is a simple man with a quite unpleasant job. Actually, the only reason he has said job as a salesman is because he wants to help his parents pay a debt. As he tries to get up in order to get ready to catch a train to said job, he notices that moving is quite difficult, and that his body itself feels different. Slowly, Gregor realizes that he has changed. He no longer has the anatomy of a human, but that of a vermin. Gregor looks at his clock... why didn't it ring? It was already quarter to 7... he was supposed to wake at 4AM. His parents urge him to get up. At first,they find themselves believing that he is sick; but then, his boss arrives and everything goes to hell. Gregor opens the door and, appalled by his appearance, his boss runs away, his mother faints, and his father even tries to kill him.

After all the commotion passes, his sister, Grate, takes upon the task of taking care of Gregor and cleaning his room. Gregor hides and only roams around the room once his family is gone. Meanwhile though, he hides under the couch. His sister at first feeds him bread and milk, but this doesn't seem as tasty as it used to be for Gregor. Instead, he takes preference on rotten food and wastes.

Days and months pass, and after various accidents, including him making his mother faint again and him driving boarders away, Gregor discovers how much his family detest him. Due to this, Gregor becomes reclusive and stops eating; dying soon after at the hand of exhaustion and starvation. The cleaning lady the family had hired to clean his room finds his corpse the morning after and tells the family, who is glad that the weight of having to take care of Gregor is finally gone.

Gregor Samsa

The main character of the story, who not only has to deal with his completely inconvenient and unfortunate transformation on his own, but also with the hate and appallment of hhis family. He passes from an average man to an isolated and depressed one.

“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”

This is a frustrated man talking. I believe that this is one of the most important quotes of the story, as it gives us a hint on how desperate, sad, and lonely Gregor feels in his current state. He wants people to understand what he is going through, but he knows that if he himself can't even begin to comprehend what's going on, it is basically impossible for anyone else to get it.