Comparison Between The Metamorphosis, by Kafka, and metamorphosis, by Salvatore Dali

Essay by Michael RuffinoCollege, UndergraduateA-, February 1997

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The painting that I chose to compare to the novel Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, was painted in 1937 by Salvatore Dali. Dali is an established Surrealist painter, who, like Kafka, explored his own psyche and dreams in his work. Dali invented a process, called the 'paranoiac critical method', which is used in this painting, to assist his creative process. As Dali described it, his aim in painting was 'to materialize the images of concrete irrationality with the most imperialistic fury of order that the world of imagination and of concrete irrationality may be as objectively that of the exterior world of phenomenal reality.'1

The rich landscape, seems to be limitless in detail. Dali rendered every detail of this landscape with precise accuracy, striving to make his paintings as realistic as possible.

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful young youth, who fell in love with his own reflection, and then drowned while trying to embrace himself.

His body was never recovered, but a flower, which was named after him was. The left side of this painting shows the kneeling Narcissus, outlined by the craggy rocks of what could only be Cape Creus's. On the right side of the painting, the scene has morphed into a more idyllic and classical scene, in which the kneeling Narcissus has become the statue of a hand, holding a cracked egg, from which emerges The Narcissus flower.

This painting reminded me of the first chapter of Metamorphosis, where the main character, Gregor Samsa, first realizes that he is confronted with a ludicrous fate in the form of a gigantic insect. In both Kafka's and Dali's work, I noticed that they both implement a certain 'receding' technique. Dali tends to put an object (In this case, Narcissus) In the foreground, and the background...