The Metamorphosis Study Guide

The Metamorphosis Study Guide

Original title:
Die Verwandlung
March 1st 1972 by Bantam Classics (first published 1915)
ISBN 0553213695 (ISBN13: 9780553213690)

Franz Kafka wrote the “Metamorphosis” in 1915 and together with his other works it was supposed to be destroyed after his death. Luckily his wife and friends didn’t obey the orders of the writer and the world still praises him as a great modernist and master of the words. 

The protagonist of the story, Gregor Samsa is a provider for his family of four. After his father lost his job, it’s now Gregor’s duty to feed the family that is not the most caring and loving one. He once comes home for a break in between long work trips and wakes up as a huge insect. 

How? Why? Don’t even try to look for answers to your questions why things happen the way they happen in the book – Kafka simply puts the reader in front of the fact without giving any explanations. Gregor is a typical example of a working class representative, naïve and helpless, standing up to the established system. 

The protagonist goes through this strange transformation fighting to keep his human side while being inside of a disgusting parasite. At the same time his family also goes through a metamorphosis process, but a slightly different one. Trying to solve the problem of losing a sponsor of their life, they become even more selfish, shallow-hearted and mean.

The plot is a fascinating one. The main character of the book, who is an animal, calls for respect and fascination from a reader while the actions of those around him, who are humans, evoke condemnation and pity. 

“Metamorphosis” is a tough read, with a strong focus on the absurdity of modern relationships, the fragility of human feelings, alienation of families and cruelty of the society with its stereotypes and pressures. But it is very relevant to the nowadays society that doesn’t accept people once they become flawed and unnecessarily. 

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