Gregor and Grete’s Transformation in The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Essay

Gregor and Grete’s Transformation in The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Essay

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Franz Kafka wrote the short story Metamorphosis in 1912. No one can truly know what he aimed to accomplish with the story, but it is thought he wrote it to demonstrate the absurdity of life. The story is written with a very simplistic undertone, ignoring how completely ludicrous the situation that Gregor Samsa and his family are in. Metamorphosis is most often thought of in the scientific meaning of the word, which according to dictionary.com is a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism. It is also defined as a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft or any complete change in appearance, character, circumstances, etc. This word is generally reserved for describing how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, a good analogy for the process of metamorphosis. It brings to mind a pleasant event, very unlike what Gregor and his family experience. We as readers only get to see things through Gregor’s eyes. Does this skew our understanding of the story, and how do Gregor and Grete’s metamorphoses differ, and how are they alike?
To fully understand this story, it’s important to have some background information on Franz Kafka. He was born into a German speaking family in Prague on July 3rd, 1883. He was the oldest of six children. His father Harmann Kafka was a business man. His mother Julie Kafka was born into a wealthy family. Kafka considered the vast differences in his paternal and maternal relatives as a “split within himself” (Sokel 1). Kafka felt that “the powerful, self-righteous, and totally unselfconscious personality of his father had stamped him with an ineradicable conviction of his own inferiority and guilt” (Sokel 1). He felt the o...


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...regor dies, while Grete lives. We as readers will never know the true reason behind Kafka’s Metamorphosis, but it is a masterpiece. It relates surprisingly well to today’s society even though it was written between 1912 and 1915. The topic of metamorphosis is really universal, we as humans are constantly changing, growing and evolving.





Works Cited

Aldiss, Brian W. “Franz Kafka: Overview.” St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. Ed. Jay P. Pederson. 4th ed. New York: St. James Press, 1996.
Goldfarb, Sheldon. “Critical Essay on ‘The Metamorphosis’.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Jennifer Smith. Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001.
Ryan, Michael P. “Samsa and Samsara: Suffering, Death and Rebirth in ‘The Metamorphosis.’.” The German Quarterly72.2 (Spring 1999): 133-152. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 60. Detroit: Gale, 2003

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