"The Metamorphosis", by Franz Kafka.

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Missing Pieces

The Metamorphosis, a disturbing, yet humorous short story is in a class of its own. The writings of Franz Kafka have long been a template for modern awareness. Even so, Kafka's writing style can be described as tough, lacking in the delicacy and intellectual development present in a novel such as Slaughterhouse Five. Unlike most other authors, Kafka uses simple, declarative sentences which, though somehow lacking in sophistication, make up for this in he novel's use of symbolism.

Gregor Samsa is a hardworking, under appreciated sales lackey whom one day transforms into a huge beetle. His transformation leaves him socially and physically helpless. Even his own family is startled by Gregor, and forces him to stay within his room for the remainder of the novel. Perhaps this symbolizes as well as magnifies Gregor's situation even before the incident, tiresome, and insignificant. Prior to Gregor's transformation, he feels that he is the provider for the family, but as the Samsa's learn to live without Gregor's help, it becomes apparent to him that his family can be self sufficient without his added income.

The most interesting thing that I have felt about this particular novel is that it actually begins at what ought to be its climax. Rather than building up to Gregor's unfortunate situation, the novel seems to be missing its first half. Thus, the actions leading up to poor Gregor's fate must be, and rather awkwardly, explained after the fateful event. This odd organization of events may also be one of the contributing factors to the overall shortness of the novel. In telling, rather than showing us the first half of poor Gregor's life and tragedy, the novel is gawkily condensed and effectively impersonal. Even so, the bizarre text and storyline make for a fairly interesting novel.

In the end, the novel ends with an abruptness which some would not call a true ending. In retrospect, this was one of the most rushed endings out of all the books read my junior year. To sum it all up, Gregor, having become a giant beetle, dies of starvation, but his family no longer needs or misses him. His Mother and Father go on to plan and prepare his sister's future. With such a strange ending, most readers will be disappointed by the lack of a decent closure to the story. Thus, in opinion, this novel is missing its beginning and end, leaving us with a very detailed, and monotonous mid section, and a very briefly explained explanation of the absent portions. Kafka has, in prospect, left us with a novel with so many holes, that the interpretations of its symbolism can itself have many craters in it as well.