Wednesday, August 19, 2015

90:120 Metamorphosis by Frank Kafka

Gregor Samsa woke one morning to find himself having mysteriously transformed into an insect of some form.  His first thought is of how to get to work in order to continue paying off the debts of his parents and providing for them and his sister.  His next is how this will affect his family when they see him in this condition.  What follows is the story as told from Gregor's perspective on how he manages to survive in his condition and the imposition this puts upon his family in caring for him.  Occasionally we hear of his pride in his sister's musical ability but mostly it's of how he is trying to be the least burdensome he can manage by hiding himself away as much as possible and how little joy he has left in his life.

This tale has been analyzed much better and more in depth than I could ever do by people who have studied it at length but here is my take having read it just once so it's just my initial thoughts rather than a studied approach.  I find it a bit disconcerting to enter the story at the point where Gregor has become a bug with no understanding of any events leading up to that but the fact that this does not strike him as strange and he never thinks about how it happened to him or how to reverse it leads me to believe that it was not unexpected to him.  Is this a metaphor for something else then, like homosexuality or mental illness?  Gregor seems a decent enough fellow so it hurt me to see how his family almost turned on him after his transformation despite everything he had given up to see to their needs for so many years including putting his own life and dreams on hold to provide for them. Again, this leads me thinking the whole bug thing is a metaphor for something else where it does not matter what else you are or have done, that new thing now defines you and you are seen as unfit to be the presence of others.  The way the family basically rejoiced as they left their house after his death frankly sickened me.

All told, I felt it was a powerful tale, well but simply told that left much open to interpretation and debate and left chilling and disturbing thoughts in its wake.

Page count: 48p/23,673p ytd/238,605p lifetime

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