Sofia's Reviews > Metamorfose

Metamorfose by Franz Kafka
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Aug 18, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classics
Recommended to Sofia by: André, Daniela
Recommended for: Everyone
Read in August, 2009

This was a surprise for me. I had never read Kafka even though it was recommended to me a lot of times, so I didn't know what to expect. Now I'm looking forward to reading his other works. This book is a little gem of insight into human behaviour, presented in a metaphor of alienation, like a darker version of one of Aesop's Fables.

One man wakes up one day and discovers he has turned into an insect. At first he can't quite come to terms with his new condition, and tries to ignore it and live his life the way he always has. Inevitably, the circumstances force him to change the way he acts, and unsure of how to react towards himself and his condition, he turns to his family, to whom he dedicates his life, for a reaction.

And this is where it becomes interesting. Their reactions seem, at the surface, understandable, even justified, but later reveal themselves to be selfish, self-centered and extremely cruel and unfair. It's easy to create a parallel between Gregor Samsa and anyone who has found him or herself alienated from society - be it a homeless person, or an old person confined to the bed by an illness... All the little actions, like talking without bothering to see if the "alien" understands it or not, the ill-disguised disgust, the forgetting of everything that person might have done for others, the wallowing in self-pity because they have to put up with that person, are perceived in all their cruelty.

It was also interesting to see how it was Gregor's transformation that turned his family, previously completely dependent upon him and unable to think of themselves as capable of providing for their own survival, into pro-active beings full of plans for the future. An ironic, and utterly sad metamorphosis indeed.

This is how I experienced the book, but it's open to interpretation, of course (I love it when books do that). I'm pretty sure my understanding of this book will change when I learn more about Kafka. Suffice to say it's a great little book and definitely worth the read.
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08/21/2009 page 12
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