Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis Essay

Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis Essay

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Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis is so strikingly absurd that it has engendered countless essays dissecting every possible rational and irrational aspect of the book. One such essay is entitled "Kafka's Obscurity" by Ralph Freedman in which he delves down into the pages of The Metamorphosis and ferrets out the esoteric aspects of Kafka's writing. Freedman postulates that Gregor Samsa progresses through several transformations: a transformation of spatial relations, a transformation of time, and a transformation of self consciousness, with his conscious mutation having an antithetical effect on the family opposite to that of Gregor. His conjectures are, for the most part, fairly accurate; Gregor devolves in both his spatial awareness and his consciousness. However, Freedman also asserts that after Gregor's father throws the wounding apple, Gregor loses his sense of time. While his hypothesis certainly appears erudite and insightful, there really is no evidence within the book itself to determine whether if Gregor has a deteriorating sense of time. If Freedman had only written about Gregor's spatial and conscious degradation, then his entire thesis would be accurate.
Freedman states that Kafka "portrays shifts in spatial relations which suddenly circumscribe Gregor's movements and world." ( 131). Due to Gregor's transformation, he has immense difficulty because he has to "swing himself . . . with all his might" just to liberate himself from the bed (Kafka 9). Freedman recognizes that since getting out of bed is such a formidable task to Gregor, Gregor's spatial world has already shrunk immensely. Until he manages to fling himself out of bed, Gregor's habitable world consists only of the bed. Another limitation to the world that Gre...


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... to do this every day Gregor would have had to have some sense of time. His dwindling human aspects are prominently marked in two places: the first when Gregor is incapable of communicating with his family and the sales manager and the second when he takes pleasure in rutting about in dirt and filth. Lastly, Gregor's loss of consciousness causes a polar change within his family. As Gregor is no longer able to earn money to support the family, everyone else is forced to take action to bring in capital. The most obvious change is in the father who transformed from a dead weight into a zealous worker. Despite Freedman's employment of flawed logic to formulate some of his theories, the majority of his conclusions are quite valid and probe deeply into the meaning behind Kafka's writing.

Works Cited
Nabokov, Vladimir. "Vladimir Nabokov's Lecture on 'The Metamorphosis'".

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