Kafka’s The Metamorphosis Essay

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Kafka’s The Metamorphosis In Franz Kafka’s novella, The Metamorphosis, the travelling salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning, in his family’s home, to find “himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin” (Kafka 3). While this immediate physical change, supported by ensuing physical imagery, suggests that the “metamorphosis” introduced in the title is purely physical, other interpretations are also possible. When the reader relies upon the extended and embedded metaphors present in this text, he or she may construe Gregor Samsa’s transformation as an emotional, mental, or internal change. It is a combination of both physical and nonphysical interpretations of Gregor Samsa’s metamorphosis, however, which produces a multifaceted,…show more content…
Diction throughout the novella supports this acceptance. Subtle details of Gregor Samsa’s state and situation provide enforcement of a purely physical reading of the transformation. Such details closely following the transformation’s commencement include the specified times Gregor Samsa’s desired train leaves (4), the specific details of Gregor Samsa’s trials with physical movement in his new body-- “and in spite of its width and weight, the mass of his body finally followed, slowly, the movement of his head” (7)--, the “firm stride” of the maid (9), and the “brown liquid” that comes out of Gregor Samsa’s mouth when he hurts himself (4). This emphasis on, if not limit to, physical imagery continues throughout the text, which actually ends with the physical detail of Gregor’s sister, who survives him, getting up to stretch “her young body” (58). One benefit of this reading is the inherently logical view of Gregor Samsa’s situation, a viewpoint which allows for full realization of absurd and unobstructed allegory and metaphor. The world Gregor Samsa inhabits is logical, but how can his present state be? As Professor Ralph Freedman, a doctor of Comparative Literature, describes, “Within this framework of realism and deliberate distortion Kafka’s fiction evolves as a problem-solving activity. Man is confronted by a world of impossible dimensions and he cannot but despair of comprehending its
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