The Metamorphosis-Kafka

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Re: The Metamorphosis-Kafka

Post by Reuben 92 » 07 Sep 2017, 03:28

I actually really did enjoy this one, though I hated Kafka's The Trial. This one had moments of great humour as well as really getting across the sense of alienation. It is a very unique story, and I would say it is timeless.
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Post by Kokunda » 07 Sep 2017, 06:17

When I read this book I was really saddened by the way he was treated. Everything had changed for him overnight. I was grossed out by the portrayal of him as some "thing" creeping and crawling around but after careful analysis of the issues Kafka was so graphical trying to raise, it just made sense. Absolute genius Kafka. Fantastic book.
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Post by Ashley Simon » 20 Sep 2017, 06:08

ChristopherRadebaugh wrote: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
Love your tie-in to Dostoevsky, Chris!

I read The Metamorphosis in high school (then again in college, where I wrote a psychoanalytical research paper on it). I was the odd one out in my high school class too, as I may be here - but something about The Metamorphosis resonated with me on a deep level. It became one of my favorite books. I think what was so novel to me at the time was the idea of a split between mind and body. I totally understand how the gruesome imagery and depressing ending could turn some people off. When I read the book, though, I was dealing with some pretty serious health issues that made me feel out-of-control in my own body. Reading The Metamorphosis was almost a comfort to me, because it introduced the idea that my mind could be something separate from my body. Of course, Gregor dies in the end - so maybe comforting is the wrong word - but the novella resonated with me and I'll always have a special place in my heart for this absurd story.
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Post by 0719672189 » 20 Sep 2017, 23:54

I have never read this book but from your review Christopher i will make a point to find this book.
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Post by kuronekonya » 07 Dec 2017, 02:27

ChristopherRadebaugh wrote:
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:
I have always found myself drawn to selfless characters, and inevitably found myself drawn to Gregor for the same reason you described here. At the same time however, I was also exasperated, because this poor young man was so used to be used, and so used to feeling useful, that the lack of this purpose ultimately led him to accept death. I think it's because I'm naturally a vengeful and independent person, and I admire that quality of selflessness and forgiveness that I don't really possess. At the same time, I wouldn't have done what Gregor had done. I might have, out of pure spite, chased and destroyed the family that chose to abandon me the moment I ceased to be "useful". It was so frustrating to see him fret about making the later train when he first transformed. As if that's the main problem, Gregor!
(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.
What you quoted here is the central theme to Ursula K. LeGuin's, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. It's a short story and leaves off with that very question, and if you are interested in stories that explore that moral dilemma I recommend it very highly. Ironically though, it criticizes literature and art for its constant fascination with pain and evil, and I found myself reflecting on that for a good long while.
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
I think that Kafka's stories really resonate more as an adult, when you've experienced real life absurdity. I know that I appreciated The Trial a lot more after analyzing the door scene, and reading about the cruelty of Guantanamo Bay. Since I will now probably have to teach one of Kafka's work, it's just as well that I have learned to like him (I didn't as a teen. I'm now twice that age).

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Post by uyky » 05 Feb 2018, 07:20

I also read it in high school. And I loved it. It is not hard to connect with Gregor and see things through his eyes. I would recommend this book to everyone.

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Post by Arrigo_Lupori » 18 Feb 2018, 18:36

I love The Metamorphosis, I read it in German a few months ago after reading a few passages in high school and I vastly enjoyed it.

The way in which the complications build up in Gregor's family, the way in which he thinks, the way in which he reacts to the circumstances all make me think about the absurdity of life and the existential "threat".

I actually want to read it again in english to better understand some passages.
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Post by rusalka » 02 Mar 2018, 06:56

I used Kafka's Metamorphosis as one of the bases for my bachelor degree work, and I expected to hate it afterwards, having spent months and months submerged into it - but I don't.

I don't believe you should be looking for some ethereal meaning in a book that deals with a transofrmation of a very concrete human being. Instead, in my personal view, Gregor Samsa fits more to be an allegory about someone who woke up realizing they've been living a meaningless, unfulfilled existence their entire time. The physical metamophosis in the story is a show of that process. In the course of the story, Samsa realizes that scarcely anybody truly cares for him, and that even those that do get turned away by his grotesque appearance - a direct reflection of what he's been passively carrying inside his entire life. He's no longer of any use to anybody.

Moral of the story is, don't be like Samsa, kids. Nobody likes an emotional cockroach.

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Post by Jeyasivananth » 05 Mar 2018, 18:54

I loved the symbolism and metaphors in the book. It was breathtaking and have been a fan of such books ever since.

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Post by Javier Campos » 28 Mar 2018, 20:12

Kafka is a great writer and the metamorphosis is a bit deeper than anyone realizes but I still don't like the book very much, for me it is just not that great or well-written.

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Post by magnoparisi » 15 May 2019, 16:38

Franz Kafka's novels and stories are in fact not novels and stories at all; they are sketches, incidents, dream-records. We cannot call Kafka a novelist unless we stretch these terms to include incidents without meaning and random dream-records. The Metamorphosis is overrated and Franz Kafka is not that good.

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Post by Nimisha_91 » 24 Aug 2019, 01:18

This was one of those books I'm still confused about.Not about the story but about how I feel about it. I didn't hate it. I just don't know if I liked it.

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Post by MrunalT » 14 Sep 2019, 09:58

I think the story is timeless is a way that it can be re-read several times, and probably each time you would end up interpreting it differently. I found the story very dark. But I did feel it agreed to psychological behaviours. Society is often willing to outcast people not deemed ‘normal’ by conventional standards, and families by extension succumb to societal pressure.

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