Create a new account

It's simple, and free.


One of the most striking qualities of KafkaÆs writing is the unforgettable first lines of his prose. From his novels to his short stories, the economy of the first line is remarkable. And this, of course, includes perhaps his most famous piece of prose, ôThe Metamorphosisö: ôAs Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insectö (Kafka 1948, 67). With this line we are immediately thrown into the world of Kafka. The absurd or ôKafkaesqueö aspect of Gregor SamsaÆs situation is made even more eerie by SamsaÆs reaction. He acts rather calmly and his thoughts are concerned with his normal daily routines. Gregor is worried more about his job and his family than he is about his condition after the metamorphosis. Eventually, GregorÆs family will become increasingly repulsed by him and he will feel nothing so much as being a burden to them and the world. As one critic maintains, ôThe novella is one of the supreme embodiments of early 20th century anxieties over the powerlessness and alienation of the individual in an irrational universeö (Metamorphosis 2004, 1). The story can be seen as the slow, inevitable death of one who has become alienated from his fellow human beings.

Samsa is treated like the insect he appears to be on the outside. But the bug that he has been transformed into contains a human being. He is cut off, unable to communicate and kept in the back room of the apartment he provided for his family. The story expresses GregorÆs alienation from his job, his family and himself. Gregor and his family find themselves in a truly absurd situation in which any response to the situation seems equally absurd and the only solution is GregorÆs death. His father will eventually kill him when all concerned agree it is useless for Gregor to live. One critic maintains the work is semi-autobiographical and pertains to KafkaÆs feelings of inadequacies...

Page 1 of 5 Next >

More on Metamorphosis...

APA     MLA     Chicago
Metamorphosis. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:50, May 24, 2020, from