The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka’s story of “The Metamorphosis” has received numerous debates. It is a haunting story of a man who transforms into an insect. The story is very essential and it only becomes difficult to understand what it means. Marxist and Freudian, existentialist, and religious interpretations have been proposed to help in understanding the meaning of story. However, a debate arises over whether Gregor Samsa, the man who turned into an insect signifies the human condition. Despite of all the arguments concerning the understanding of the story, it is agreeable that the story portrays a hostile and absurd world. In that context, the reader becomes capable of understanding the main theme in the story, which includes father-son antagonism. This is clearly visible when reflecting on the difficult relationship between Kafka and his own father. It also helps bring out other themes like self-sacrifice, isolation, and alienation at work.

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Kafka’s story is one of the greatest literary works because it is full of fantasy. Even though the transformation process is not clearly explained, along with the juxtaposition of the story and fantastic elements accord the story a dream-like quality that enigmatically compels the reader. This is seen when Gregor Samsa wakes up as a gigantic, gross bug. This transformation process occurs instantaneously until no one is able to understand. One might argue that, perhaps, it is because of the story’s dream-like elusiveness that makes it receive so much criticism in regards to figuring out the basis of the story. In numerous arguments, some look at Kafka’s biographical and historical context. They contend that because the story was published in 1912, it was used in expressing Kafka’s own sense of self-alienation.

Many other arguments focus on the readings of Karl Marx as a way into the complex philosophical themes of what seems like a simple tale. In this context, a Marxist reading the story of Kafka might focus Gregor’s failure to work as a remonstration against the dehumanizing and self-alienating effects of working in a capitalistic culture. Some may view Gregor’s gruesome insect form as representing Gregor's deep-seated denial to surrender to society’s values.

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