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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Die Verwandlung popularly known as The Metamorphosis is a classic Kafka Originals. Franz Kafka, the German-language novelist, and short story writer is considered as one of the most influential wordsmith of the early twentieth century. The Metamorphosis by this weird literary Genius is an account of the traveling salesman (Gregor Samsa) who wakes up one morning from his uneasy dreams only to find that he had been altered into a giant insect. Gregor has no clue about the reason behind such transformation. Already leading a workaholic lifestyle due to the family debt, the struggles become hard for him as he realizes that he can’t move out of the bed as he is not accustomed to using so many legs. Upon seeing him like an insect for the first time his parents react adversely, but his sister Grete is not so obnoxious about him. For the next few months, Grete takes care of him, cleans his room and feeds him. She removes the furniture out of Gregor’s room so that he could scale around the Walls. While doing so, their mother catches the sight of Gregor and freaks out.


With the passage of Time Gregor realizes that without him working and earning money, his family is running into serious financial crisis. In order to stabilize their economy, the family rents out the apartment to three renters who upon seeing Gregor decides not to dwell at that place and leave. It is only then that the family decides not to live with Gregor anymore and directs him to leave the place. Gregor upon hearing this rushes back to his room and dies. Life takes a surreal turn for this family when they find him dead in his room. They decide to take the initiative and change their fortune. They all gain a decent job, a comfortable place to live, and Grete is recognized as a pretty young woman.


This story can best be understood in two parts, at the beginning the plot revolves around the transformation of a human to an insect, In the second-part, the story is all about the Metamorphosis of the family from an indebted, struggling family to an enduring and pleasant family. Kafka’s exemplary skills are evident from his realist display of a human’s perspective while being entrapped in an insect’s body.  Although, since the inception of the story, Gregor stays as an insect, the human inside him characterizes and displays the fact that how we too might react in the exact fashion when we are stuck under the same set of situations.


It’s obvious that no one wakes up as an insect in the real world but we all go through several transformations during our lifetime.  And then one day the world realizes that you’ve been transformed and starts responding accordingly. The insect appearance by Kafka is nothing but a metaphor for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and even a heartbreak. Even after 103 years of its publication, the story holds the power to stun and relish the readers at the very same time. A fine section of our society regards this work as the greatest short story in the history of literary fiction.

Mayank Gautam

Graduate in Politicial Science from University of Delhi and pursuing Bachelors in Law from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. Always open to rock music and deep talks.

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