Comparing Franz Kafka and Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis

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Similarities between Franz Kafka and Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis

It is unusual to say the least to open a book and the first line is about the main character waking up as a large insect. Most authors’ use symbolism to relate the theme of their work, not Franz Kafka. He uses a writing method that voids all aspects and elements of the story that defy interpretation. In doing this, he leaves a simple story that stands only for an objective view for his own thoughts and dreams. Kafka focuses the readers’ attention on a single character that symbolizes himself and his life, not Everyman as some authors do. This method is displayed in most of his literary works. To understand how this method is recognized, readers must study the author’s background during the period of writing and basic history to understand this author’s motive. In his short story, “The Metamorphosis”, there are multiple similarities between Kafka’s true life and Gregor Samsa’s.

Before the similarities are displayed, the justifications behind this premise are as follows. Kafka’s works demonstrates the use of a self-nulling reference system in order to void possibilities of critics attempting to use hermeneutics (Thiher, 50). Hermeneutics is the methodology of interpretation. Examples of this method can be found throughout the story in the use of the realistic and unrealistic elements intertwined in different situations. “Kafka’s Metamorphosis validates contradictory readings that cancel coherent interpretation,” is a quote by confirmed critic Gavriel Ben-Ephraim(451). A specific example can be located in Part I, when Gregor attempts to rise from bed and fails. He thinks to himself, “What a job I’ve chosen.” In truth, he did not h...

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..., Gavriel. “Making and Breaking Meaning: Deconstruction, Four-level Allegory and The Metamorphosis.” Midwest Quarterly. 35 (1994): 450-67.

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