The Metamorphosis Analysis

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In The Metamorphosis, Kafka establishes, through his religious imagery and gospel-esque episodic narration, the character of Gregor Samsa simultaneously as a kind of inverse Messianic figure and a god-like artist, relating the two and thus turning the conventional concept of the literary hero on its ear. The structure of the novel reflects that of the Gospel of Mark in that it is narrated in individual events, and in this it is something of a Künstlerroman - that is, the real metamorphosis is over the course of the novel, rather than just at the beginning, and that change is a heightened sensitivity to the world in an artistic sense. The motif of change is a rather theological one as well: we see it in a religious sense, in the form of …show more content…

. . at the table quietly reading the paper or studying" (Kafka 12-13). This imagery of Samsa as a studious carpenter characterizes him as humble and, in this, somewhat unlikable to the toughest audiences. Even imagery as simplistic as this conjures the image of Gregor as a bookish, studious milquetoast. At the same time, the carpenter characterization connotes Christ, and thus immediately hints at Samsa's eventual heroism, even before anything significant has happened. So when the book's first "metamorphosis" occurs in the first sentence, Gregor's prior circumstances make him fertile ground in which a change in spirit can occur. Samsa even acknowledges the metaphysical change enacted in himself: when he tries to explain to his family and the head clerk why he cannot leave his room, his audience can "no longer (understand) his words, even though they (are) clear enough to him, clearer than before even" (15). It is as if he is in another dimension from them completely and therefore a sort of "immortal" at heart, before the knowledge is even imparted upon him in the form of his metamorphosis into an insect. Only as a "vermin" can Gregor, thoroughly isolated from the world, be truly human. In this alternative humanity Kafka incorporates James Joyce's assertion that an artist "remains ... invisible, refined out

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