Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis has been open to widespread interpretation, and more often than not, misinterpretation. However, I believe to have come across a not only feasible criticism, but an insightful one. This author discussed Kafka's identification between man and beast demonstrated through the metamorphosis of Gregor Samsa into an insect. The writer claims that Kafka believes that some people in society are regarded as nothing more than beasts by other people. He also further states that this distinction is made subconsciously.

Gregor and his family are used as the model to substantiate Kafka's identification. The author refines Kafka's use of beast to mean a beast of burden.

He then parallels a horse on a farm doing its work to Gregor supporting his family.

He maintains that Gregor's family saw him merely as a beast of burden, who worked hard, didn't communicate with them very much, and that is what his family came to expect from him and had no interest in changing it.

The author comes dangerously close to scraping the bottom of the symbolism barrel when he goes on to say that Gregor became an insect and not a horse because humans can associate and interact with a horse far easier than an insect. Horses are large mammals that most people like or at least respect, but that is not the case with an insect. A person's first reaction is to squash them or simply run away, which justifies Kafka's further removal of Gregor from the human realm by changing him into an insect.

The writer also makes a point to explain that it was a continuous change for gregor, like looking at oneself in the mirror every day, hence the final product wasn't a deadly shock to him. His family on the other hand, looked at him once,