Kafka has become one of the renowned household names around the world especially for people who find fascination in reading his pieces of fiction work. One of his works The Metamorphosis is an exemplary piece of writing. The title of the book “Metamorphosis” which means a change of form is clearly reminiscent in the entire book. This fiction type book has been hailed as one of Kafka’s excellent works. Kafka was born in Czechoslovakia although he is a German-Jew. “The Metamorphosis” is ranked among his other two masterpieces The Trial and The Castle.
In this book, Kafka uses the family setup to depict his early life as a child up to the time of his death. The book talks of a man who was transformed into an insect and the way he lives until his martyr cal death to rid his family of the anguish he is bringing to them. This has had a profound effect of attracting critics and fans alike all in equal measure. The story which depicts how a man was transformed into an insect is one of the fiction writings that have received unrivalled acclamation in the literally world. One of the main highlights in this story is the imagery that Kafka vibrantly portrays of the world as a hostile and absurd environment especially for a family trying to survive. Kafka uses the family in metamorphosis as a parallel to his own life where he shows how the main character Gregor, who is the sole bread winner in the family, falls out of favor with everyone after he loses his ability to work after turning into a bug.
Kafka, who was born in Prague, lived a life that can be considered a loner. The renowned fiction writer never married even though it is said that he was engaged a couple of times. Kafka had a rocky relationship with his father who was a businessman. His relationship with his father is clearly documented in his previous work Letter to his Father. Kafka also found it difficult in concentrating in his writings mainly due to disturbances from the household which included his three younger sisters and a number of servants.
After graduating from campus, he was employed at an insurance company where he quit after being bored. Latter on, he took a job as a prominent person in another insurance company. This also did not satisfy him since he felt that this full time job interfered with his passion for writing. As controversial as it may sound, Kafka quit his job as a result of illnesses. During his life, he was prone to an array of imaginary as well as real conditions. He actually died before attaining the age of forty. He had tried to manage his conditions by becoming a vegetarian but it was all in vain (Heller, 1975).
The German minority on Prague was sizeable enough and hence Kafka found it easy to produce his exceptional work. Although he lived in Czech, the first language that he wrote his masterpieces on was German. Kafka began his writing career at a young age and this was largely attributed to his passion in writing. Writing was also one of the ways in which he found best to express himself in. The author was too critical in his works and he always found fascination in producing a perfect piece that satisfied him. However, his criticism towards himself had the unfortunate turn of events in which he destroyed most of his childhood writings. The Metamorphosis nearly never saw the light of day if it wasn’t for the concerted effort of Kafka’s friend Max Brod who was also an exceptional writer and a friend of Kafka (Heller, 1975).
Kafka usually set high standards for himself and most of the times he did not find his writings to be worthy of publishing. During the time of his death, he had instructed his fellow writer and trusted colleague Max, to burn his unpublished writings and to never republish his already published work. Max however, knew the difference between a good piece of work and the excellent work that Kafka had produced and so ignored his instructions. The outcome to Max resistance was the publishing of The Trail & The Castle which are rated amongst the best fiction pieces in the history of literary pieces.
The fiction begins when Gregor has already turned into a gigantic insect. Although he notices this he does not seem to find it horrible at first. His only worry is that he is late for work because he has overslept. Gregor actually finds his transformation as an advantageous situation in his life as he is now able to escape most of life’s shortcomings. He at first finds being a bug as a pleasant thing but with time he finds it an absurd thing. The family which is supposed to support Gregor due to his situation only end up causing him more pain and anguish than he could have imagined.
Kafka uses the family in this case to show how the world can be unreasonable especially when money comes into play. Although Gregor really helped his family and still cared for them, they took no time to appreciate his work and only ended up despising him because he did not have the ability to work anymore. Although Gregor is transformed into an insect and cant walk at first latter he finds it easy to adapt as an insect where he shows this by claiming that he now feels a “sense of physical” ease in comfort. He has also come to the realization that his limbs are becoming “completely obedient” he realized this with utmost joy. Gregor through happiness now tended to believe that he would finally relieve himself from all his sufferings (Kafka, 2005).
Kafka uses the family to represent the conflicting characters in his real life by using the characters in this fiction. Gregor Samsa who is the main character in this fiction represents Kafka. The author represents this character as the protagonist in the book who is both hardworking and sacrifices for the family. Gregor just like Kafka lives with his family and is not married. Gregor is portrayed as a character who does not like his job just as Kafka did not like his. The character in this book does not have a social life nor close friends just like Kafka. The author just like in his real life feels as if his family does not appreciate all his hard work.
Gregor is then transformed and this transformation is not only physical but his character also changes. The author just as he did in his life, decided to one day put his own desires first instead of the family. In his real life, he quit his job because of sickness and in this book; he also quits his job after being transformed. At the end however, he reverts to his sacrificial ways after dying willingly in order for his family to be happy because he thinks they are not happy when he is around. Kafka also dies prematurely in his real life after suffering imaginable and real diseases. He had tried his best in life to be well and even tried to be a vegetarian but in the end he died.
Gregor’s sister Grete Samsa is the closest family member of Gregor just as in his real life, Kafka’s sisters look after him especially through his illness and death. She however gets tired of taking care of him and she demands that Gregor be rid of. Gregor’s father is represented as an antagonist to his son who lives out of his son’s hard work. However, after Gregor’s transformation he changes his ways out of circumstance and gets a job as a bank messenger. Gregor’s mother is much more sympathetic of Gregor and she is the one character in the book that vehemently defends him. She however does not have the power to really defend Gregor and this is evident after Grete wins an argument on whether to remove Gregor’s furniture (Comgold, 1973).
Although the book is written in third person narrative, Kafka mainly writes the story in Gregor’s point of view. In the story it is evident that only Gregor’s thought are presented. Most of the events in the story happen at the family setup in the house with much emphasis being laid on Gregor’s room. Kafka has told the story in Gregor’s room with the family and how they react being the epicenter of the whole fiction. Although this is a typical family the author has tried hard enough to use characters that represent diverse characteristics in the world. This has had the effect of highlighting how the world although with different characters can be quite unreasonable and absurd after one becomes impotent and cannot be able to work.