• Miriam Benjamin

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

This novella by the Surrealist Franz Kafka is where the word 'Kafkaesque' comes from. Metamorphosis begins with the protagonist George Samsa discovering that he has turned into an insect one morning. Being the sole earner in the family, both George and his family try to adapt to his transformation.

My initial reaction after finishing this book was like most others - "What was the point to this story?" At its surface, it seems like a nonsensical story that dedicates too many of its pages to how George tries to move around in his insect body.

However, I now believe that The Metamorphosis is very simple. It is a tale of a kind man's obligations to his family and how he is isolated and resented after his change. Something everyone faces when they go through a change in their own lives.

The audience also gains insight into Kafka's home life. He too had a tumultuous relationship with his family, almost exactly mirroring George's. He had an overbearing, authoritarian father figure, a meek maternal one, and a fond sister who later betrays him in some way. Where this story lacks in plot, it makes up for in character writing - which is apt since the story revolves around the disintegration of the family.

This Absurdist story is a quick read but is most certainly a memorable one.

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