Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lunchtime read: Metamorphosis

It seems logical, having just finished a Kafka book to postpone the Russian Short Stories until tomorrow and do a quick report on his most famous work The Metamorphosis.

The MetamorphosisFranz Kafka
Gregor Samsa wakes up and finds himself changed into an insect and the relationships with the rest of his family and his own mind are the main focus of the story. He feels that he has let his family down because he is the main breadwinner and obviously cannot go to work but there is also a question of why this has happened and whether it is some sort of punishment. In terms of the reaction to him his family shun him and when he comes out of his room one day his father throws apples at him, one of which gets buried in his back and causes an infection. The end comes after Gregor slips out of his room to listen to his sister playing violin and is referred to as an ‘it’ and so goes back to his room and dies from starvation and the infection from the apple.

The idea that you could somehow change your shape into that of an insect and see your wings and numerous legs flapping around is enough to disturb but then coping with the permanence of that change and realising that it has been a death sentence is just as hard. While surfing on Wikipeda viewing the various critical approaches people take to Kafka the idea that it might be slightly existential makes sense in that Camus and Satre also have that ability to create disturbing situations and characters.

More Russian stories tomorrow…

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