The Metamorphosis | Review




When I started reading this short story, I was filled with prejudgments about it. But paragraph after paragraph, page after page, I came up to these conclusions (1) Houses of publishing, take advantage of dead authors works to translate them in a way that guarantee an implicit or explicit melancholy and dreadfulness meanings. For instance, when Dostoevsky finished one of his short stories, the publisher decided to make some adjustments in order to make the story more bleak and delightful to the readers, it’s when Dostoevsky sent her a letter preventing her from making any further adjustments to the story without his consent because what she did was making the protagonist inclined to suicide, which he was not. That’s why I never trust any translated work. (2) Why most of the readers are taken with idea of compliance with laws and regulations and how the characters are devoid of human feelings, I can’t deny any of that, it could be totally true. But why don’t we look at the other side of the story:

The mysterious insect Gregor had turned to, is inside each and every one of us; we turned to it whenever we were neglected, being bullied, being harassed, having mentality disorders, suicidal thoughts, being depressed, having communication problems, and the list goes on. Whatever the things or circumstances that could make us turn to that nauseous, terrifying and despicable insect Gregor had turned to.

It also could be the stages of the problems we face in our life. Starting from it being huge and irritating us and by time we might get used to its existence, to the point that we’d neglect it. Until the day comes and we can’t but say: enough is enough. And through it outside our life and move on. And how we actually deal with these problems is being reflected by Gregor’s family, their way of dealing with Gregor (the problem).

I believe that this specific work of Kafka is an open invitation for us to look at Gregor’s metamorphosis from a different angle each time we read it. And never stick to the stereotypical side of this story.

The characters on the other hand, are nearly fixed; Gregor manages to accept every situation has given to him, starting from his new roll in the family after his father losses his business, and being depended on as breadwinner for his family. Accepting a job that he dislikes yet a distrustful and overbearing boss. However, after Gregor’s metamorphosis he also shows acceptance to his new condition, and instead of freaking out or rebel on the current situation, he had only showed tolerance and never tried to stand up for himself or even to leave.

However, his sister’s character showed much development than Gregor’s. At first she used to love her brother, and when he transformed she kept on bringing him food that she thought he loves, when this failed she brought a large variety of food to see what fits his new situation, yet she cleaned his room (she did so temporarily; as she considered this new situation tentative and it will pass soon) but when time start passing, and there was no change on Gregor’s situation, and he started affecting her life badly, she showed lack of sympathy and grow up showing negligence toward him. Eventually, she decided to let go of him and persuaded her family to do so.

The general theme in the story was absurdity. From the first sentence to the last the story was filled with absurd events. Neither Gregor’s family, his office manager, the maids nor the boarders were horrified of his vision, there reaction toward what’s going on was beyond believing; it appeared as if they were used to seeing this, and it is just a disgusting and annoying part of their life might possibly happen. They had never asked for explanation or seeked an advice. Even Gregor himself was more concerned of catching the train for his job more than his metamorphosis. This absurdity implies that the characters to some degree are not surprised by the absurdity in their world.

If we tried to investigate the lexical meaning of Metamorphosis, we’d have found this:

1. formal a process in which something changes completely into something very different.
2. a process in which a young insect, frog etc changes into another stage in its development.

(From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Entry: metamorphosis)

which means; this story is causing a transformation in the personality of its characters; they are either showing the slightest development or a major one. Same for the reader, one can not finish this story without having something changed in him. Wherefore, The Metamorphosis is an invitation for every one to actually metamorphose into something.

 Started Reading – May 27, 2017
Finished Reading – May 28, 2017
* I own a copy of the book. 

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