By Franz Kafka
Franz mentions this book as unreadable. This novel is said to be autobiographical in content and Kafka’s stories are usually the experiences in his life or his situations in his family. We need to find deeper hidden meanings in the story.
The book was published in 1915 and has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied across colleges and universities in the western world. Kafka has mentioned about his life in the beginning and then started with the story and there we find how related this story is with his real life.
It is a story of the Samsa Family where Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman wakes up one day to find himself turned into a large insect with many thin legs and armour-like back with his voice like an animal. He thought, at first, possibly this could be a dream and he can sleep for a little longer and forget about all this. But he wasn’t able to put himself back to sleep because of his weird body and his tiny legs dangling around his big upper body.
And then soon, he realizes that he has got to go to work which he typically didn’t like because of its nature. It usually dealt with worrying about making train connections to reach places and to have irregular meals. Gregor had not opened the door for a long time, even though each one of his family members would come up and knock at his door to remind him that he has to rush to his work. He did not step out as he had not been able to adjust with his new structure and was not able to get out of the shock of what can happen to him.
Soon, he had his boss coming to his house asking for him and after many failed attempts of avoiding everyone, he had to step out in front of them bringing everyone to astonishment and shock with a crying howl of what had happened to him. And as soon as he stepped out of the room, his father started pushing him back to go to his room. Gregor was finding it difficult as he was not able to adjust to his body yet, which ended up hurting and bleeding him badly.
Life had taken a drastic turn after this day and there was only his sister who would come in his room, serving him food and cleaning up his room. No one would dare come to his room and see this insect.
His family tries their best to take care of him despite him not being able to go out to work and do things himself. All the other three members of the family had to go get a new job and earn their living.
With the way he lives, he brings mere embarrassment to the family. Only his sister took care of him and tried to pretend that he is not burdensome to them and to do things that best suited him. But soon enough Gregor felt that he was unwanted with the way his sister used to behave when she entered his room. She used to shut the door as soon as she entered so that no one had to bear the sight of him and she would directly go to open the windows as if she was suffocating.
But with time, her sister, the only person he had relied on, even that seemed to have lost. Everyone tries to discard him away, ill-treat him and his very own sister tries to disown him wanting not to relate to him anymore. They wanted to get rid of him, wanted to believe that Gregor was dead and the one that was here in the room was a monster.
Gregor felt awful about it and thought that he should go away, even more than his family wanted him to and did attempt so.
Kafka makes us look at our own lives even more diligently with his writing in this book. It teaches us a lot more than what is written, with its underlying moral. This is the first book of Kafka that I have read and was indeed not disappointing. The story of Metamorphosis is very much closely related to his own life and I believe Kafka tries to pour his heart out with the narration of this story.
The takeaway from this book is that:
We need to take care of our own life.
No one in the entire universe will make you live your life.
Some might help you out to do so, but, until and unless we make an effort to live it, no one is yearning to live your life.