"The Metamorphosis" - Kafka : Analyzing the reasons behind Vladimir Nabokov's critique

Essay by vintagerose07High School, 10th grade April 2006

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Fear, jolting, trapping in a sense, and awakening in a more literal one, a nightmare is a dream forged from the inner reality of yourself. In "The Metamorphosis" by Kafka a traveling salesman named Gregor is mysteriously turned into a dung beetle, which not even his family can learn to accept let alone understand. His family is now faced with a lack of money, since Gregor was the only person working, leaving him to feel worthless and like a disappointment as opposed to the importance that he once held. Kafka's tone and overall style according to Russian author Vladimir Nabokov makes The Metamorphosis a "striking contrast to the nightmare of the tale." Enhancing this nightmarish quality of this novella are Kafka's limited third person perspective, a matter-of- fact tone and clear black and white preciseness.

Due to the limited third person perspective darkness is created surrounding the reader making uncertainty and alienation inevitable.

Set apart from the story directly the reader must take in Gregor's story in a relationship almost fitting more with the readers' own life rather than a simple story about one man. From the very beginning of this novella it is made clear that this perspective with not explain thoroughly the exactness of Gregor's dilemma, leaving a nightmarish quality of chaos and insecurity. Gregor's thoughts awaken the reader to the strange circumstance that he is in in his own mind, but limiting Gregor's vulnerability in the eyes of the reader. "What has happened to me? He thought. It was no dream." (1) In this passage Gregor expresses his broad feelings about what has happened although Kafka confines Gregor from an in depth look at why, how and even if he has really turned into a beetle. The narrating voice has no more knowledge of...