Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

"When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstous vermin."

With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing - though absurdly comic - meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. (Taken from back cover)

The Metamorphosis had to be one of the weirdest books I have ever read. Well, it's more of a novella because it's only 55 pages which is nice. I like short books, especially when they're for school. And the writing was really easy to read. It was written in the early 1900s, but it's part of the Modernist period, so the language is pretty similar to what we're used to seeing. That being said, the subject matter was so bizarre. The main character, Gregor, wakes up one morning and discovers that he has transformed into a giant cockroach. Now, I don't like big bugs. Little flies and spiders I can handle, but I'm afraid of anything tarantula-sized. So reading this book started freaking me out because I was imagining a big huge cockroach just sitting there in someone's house. So if you're afraid of bugs, I don't recommend this book. Besides the weirdness, the book did a good job of showing Gregor's isolation and solitude. His family practically disowns him and shuts him up in a bedroom, coming in every once in awhile to clean and give him some food. The author, Franz Kafka, had some of the same problems with his family, feelings of inadequacy, alienation, etc so you could tell where he got the inspiration for The Metamorphosis. It was a weird, slightly frightening book, but it has some good material for an essay so it might be a good choice for a research paper or something similar.

6 out of 10.

FTC: I borrowed this book from school.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The element of bugs should definitely not stop you from reading this book!!
Highly recommended and one of the most important pieces of literature of all time.
Very easy to write an essay on as there are many subtleties and extensive room for analysis and incredibly easy to compare to The Outsider (L'├ętranger) by Albert Camus.