The Metamorphosis-Kafka

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Rachel Gough
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The Metamorphosis-Kafka

Post by Rachel Gough » 24 Mar 2014, 20:41

I read The Metamorphosis when I was in high school, and at the time I was sure I understood the story, but I hated it, like, the story made me so violently angry. However, I was really young when I read it, and I want to know your feelings about the story.
With that said, tell me your interpretations of the story, and how it made you feel. Did you enjoy it, or like me, did you hate it? Was this a story that can resonate with people on a psychological/emotional level? Finally, is this a timeless work of fiction?

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Post by Jbessy » 29 Mar 2014, 21:58

I read the story in one sitting, but I came away a little confused. Like you I figured I understood the story pretty thoroughly, but I had mixed feelings about the stories progression and resolution. Maybe I'll have to look at it again, but as I remember it was a fun but sad seventy pages or so. Definitely one of those stories that improves the more you know about literature,

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Post by dlachance9 » 02 Apr 2014, 16:11

I'm glad someone brought this up. I was just considering reading this story, but haven't had a chance to get ahold of it yet. Rachel, could you elaborate a bit? What made you so angry about it?
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Post by Grouchiegirl119 » 07 Apr 2014, 20:57

I loved it when I read it but my daughter is reading it right now for school and I have to admit I can't remember how it ends. But I remember being completely smitten with the premise- how he started the store was brilliant.it is a classic.
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Post by PluviophileReader » 08 Apr 2014, 12:05

Oh Kafka, I cannot say enough about how brilliant this man's writing is. I read the Metamorphosis as a teen which lead to me reading more of his works as a young adult. To this day, even after reading so many other phenomenal books through out my English degree, Kafka remains one of my favourite authors. His ability to explore human emotions and dynamics as well as the psychology of suffering is so unique and frankly, amazing.

After having read other stories by Kafka, The Metamorphosis is actually one of the ones I connected with the least. The premise the reader is supposed to connect to in the story is a matter of feeling like an insect and having all of the people that you love shun you for being this way. It is the epitome of shame and loneliness. While many of us have felt that way I don't think a lot of people have felt the full brunt of poor Gregor. Even with that, not being able to fully connect with his situation, as a reader, you still feel immensely sorry for him. Personally, "The Penal Colony" or the "The Hunger Artist" are stories that reached out to me on a more emotional level.

I do personally believe that this story is a timeless piece.
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Post by DATo » 08 May 2015, 03:48

Did anyone ever notice this in the movie The Producers?

The character Max Białystok, played by Zero Mostel, is lying on a couch reading a lot of scripts looking for one which is sure to flop on Broadway. He reads aloud: "Gregor Samsa awoke to find himself transformed into an enormous bug." ... he then looks off into space and finally decides ... "Naw, too good." *LOLOLOLOLOLOL*
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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Max Tyrone
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Post by Max Tyrone » 12 May 2015, 19:07

I, too, read the story in high school and wrote my senior thesis on it. I found it so weird and crazy that I had to write about it. At the time I read it, I certainly felt a little bit of what Samsa felt, him being shunned by his family due to his turning into an insect and the obvious consequences of that (we all know how that can be). I believe Kafka's message is that life is utterly absurd. You go to work, you return to your family with your earnings, and when you turn into a bug incapable of winning bread, everything goes to naught. It was terribly depressing, but comical...but still depressing. I loved this short work, but I'm having a hard time going through The Trial.
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Post by Hannah N » 14 May 2015, 18:08

Although this book was a little odd, it spoke a message that was very relevant in this modern day world. Work is constantly our first focus, as it should not be. This novel truly opened my eyes and I would recommend every high schooler to read it.

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Post by David Bowman » 15 Jun 2015, 15:00

I had read Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," but it wasn't during high school. I have never been assigned to read it but decided it only because I was interested in Kafka's work. In most of his works, I always find his tales very surreal but his prose not; his writing style is somewhat made up of precise vocabulary, nothing very difficult. It just about contrasts to the weirdness that make up his whole oeuvre. That being said, "The Metamorphosis," is one of my favorite out of Kafka's short stories. As opposed to its author, I think the ending suited it well, but I would like to know if Kafka could have come up with a better one (he never liked the ending he wrote for it).

Strange to me, however, that I find the ending of "A Hunger Artist" just as depressing as it is darkly comic.
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Post by Kali0925 » 25 Jun 2015, 09:45

The Metamorphosis is by far not one of my favorite books from Kafka, I, like some people, hated it. I read it in high school for the first time, then I had to read it again when I was in college for Intro to Comparative Literature. I understood it better after analyzing it more. It is very sad, but at the same time very realistic. Gregor had physically changed, but in his mind he was still the same, even though for his family this wasn't the case since they depended on him economically. Since he is of no use to them anymore, they start to push him aside and move on with their lives, the ending gets sadder. Basically, this book makes you pity Gregor for the position he's in, but at the same time it makes you analyze how we change and people continue expecting for you to be the same no matter what the circumstances are. Gregor's family had to find another way of economically surviving, since they couldn't depend on their son anymore. I personally despised his family, specially his dad for the way he treated him, ever since the beginning his family wanted him gone as soon as they couldn't gain anything from him. This book demonstrates how on a daily basis a person is used, judged and mistreated by society for being different, or not as productive as whatever standards that person is being measured upon.

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Post by vs9 » 15 Jul 2015, 17:45

I think this is really great. Strange, and special.

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Post by dhaller » 04 Aug 2015, 16:57

You can practically tell Kafka hated his life just from reading it.

Samsa's plight, as it gets worse and worse, made me feel...well, alienated. It made me feel alone.
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David Bowman
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Post by David Bowman » 12 Aug 2015, 14:06

dhaller wrote:You can practically tell Kafka hated his life just from reading it.

Samsa's plight, as it gets worse and worse, made me feel...well, alienated. It made me feel alone.
Same for me, too. Kafka has a lot of autobiographical elements in his story - some of them like "The Judgement" have a lot to do with his controlling father. It not only adds to the stories he wrote but the symbolic significance of his animals. Think of the mouse folk in "Josephine the Singer" or, obviously, Gregor Samsa's horrible transition in "The Metamorphosis." They're all brilliantly written.
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Post by godreaujea » 06 May 2017, 16:27

I read this book a while ago, but I still remember the imagery in it made me feel sick to my stomach. Kafka is a brilliant writer though, and I thought the book is pretty great!

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Post by ChristopherRadebaugh » 19 May 2017, 02:28

I love this story. There is something in this story I identify with on a deep level. There is so much to say about it. First, the book, for me, underscores the absurdity of existence and prefigures the work of Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre. Gregor's transformation is taken in stride by nearly every character. No one acts as though this is something that is impossible. How do we react to the profound philosophical absurdities of life? One could do worse than emulating Gregor. He is soft-hearted, loving and caring towards those close to him, and attempts to handle the absurdities as best he can and hold on to his humanity, even as the world tries to strip it away from him. His simple kindness is the only thing he has left at the end of the book. His death is a final act of love toward his family, who will never recognize it for what it was. It was purely selfless. This theme is complicated, however, by the very idea that it takes the sacrifice of someone so loving to bring about the transformation of his family toward a better future. I am tempted here to say that this is a critique of Christianity. How could anyone feel anything resembling joy and happiness knowing that the cost of his or her salvation was only possible through the death of someone completely innocent? How could I, if I want to truly be a moral person, want anything other than to reject such a gift, knowing what it cost? How could I take myself seriously and also want to condone such a plan? Dostoevsky (who Kafka greatly admired) put it thus in his novel, The Brothers Karamazov:

(Ivan asks his brother, the pious Alyosha): "Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature — that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance — and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”
(Alyosha): “No, I wouldn’t consent,” said Alyosha softly.
(Ivan): “And can you admit the idea that men for whom you are building it would agree to accept their happiness on the foundation of the unexpiated blood of a little victim? And accepting it would remain happy for ever?”
(Alyosha): “No, I can’t admit it."


This is one of the most powerful critiques of Christianity I have ever heard and quite compelling (and let's not forget that Dostoevsky was a fervent Christian): that whatever end God has in mind, the price to be paid that one must consent to in order to receive it is far too high for any being who considers himself or herself to be moral to agree to.

Kafka is a great writer. I highly recommend his work. And if you don't agree with my opinion, it's no big deal, there are enough interpretations of his story to conflict heavily with mine, I'm sure. Sorry for the long-winded response, but I hope it's helpful.

-Chris

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