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The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction of the 20th century and is widely st...
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Davis 1 Nicole Davis Mrs. Carter English III/ 2 Blue 04-20-09 Metamorphosis Comparative Paper The Metamorphosis is a novel written in in 1912 by Franz Kafka. This novel was originally written in in German and translated into other languages. This novel is a perfect parallel to Kafka’s Kafka’s life through the main character, Gregor Samsa. Samsa. Just in the beginning of this novel, there are already many comparisons between the lives of the men and how Gregor is a mirror image of Kafka. Just one simple comparison between Gregor and Kafka are their last names and the way Gregor feels when he wakes in the beginning of the the novel. Gregor’s last last named is Samsa and Franz’s Franz’s last name is Kafka. The similarities are; the a’s a’s are in the same spot in both names and both k’s in Kafka are replaced by s’s. s’s. That is a very minor comparison between the two men, but can still lead to another clue that they both share the same lives. In the beginning of The of The Metamorphosis, Metamorphosis , Gregor wakes up “from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” (Kafka 3). He is no longer in his comfortable human body, but transformed into a vermin. This disturbing and uncomfortable situation describes how Kafka felt before he started writing the novel, and how he compares himself (Kafka) to his father. Kafka wrote a letter to his Jewish fiancé, Felice Bauer, describing how he felt right before he began to write The Metamorphosis . He says in the letter “I was simply simply too miserable to get out of bed. It
Davis 2 also seemed to me that last night my novel got much worse, and I lay in the lowest depths… I'll write you again today, even though I still have to run around a lot and shall write down a short story that occurred to me during my misery in bed and oppresses me with inmost intensity.” intensity.” (Corngold 64). In this letter to Felice, Kafka informs her that he had a miserable morning and that morning inspired him to write this novel. In the beginning of the novel Gregor can’t get out of bed and he thought, “how simple everything would be if he could get some help. Two strong persons—he thought of his father and the maid…” (Kafka 7). Kafka’s father father was a very strong and intimidating man, but on the other hand, Kafka was sensitive and “weak”. “weak”. Kafka was constantly afraid of his his father and he portrays this feeling in the novel as well. Gregor questions himself, “should he really call for help? In spite of all his miseries, he could not repress a smile at this thought.” (Kafka 7). Even Gregor himself is questioning whether he really needs his father to be there, he smiles at the stupidity of even thinking he needed his father’s help. Gregor and Kafka both dislike their their fathers and don’t want them involved in their lives or situations, situations, even if they need their help. Gregor also mentions that his father was strong and this also relates to Kafka’s father. father. Also in the beginning of the novel, Kafka mentions a framed page of a magazine with “a lady done up in a fur hat and a fur boa, sitting upright and raising up against the viewer a heavy fur muff muff in which her whole forearm had disappeared.” (Kafka 3). This decoration was a pornographic picture that, while his sister and mother were moving out his furniture, he covered up the frame with his vermin-like body in order to save th e picture from being removed. “He squatted on this picture and would not give it up.” (Kafka 26), this strong sexual obsession that Gregor has compares to Kafka’s
Davis 3 relationships with women. Kafka had trouble with love, but he had had previously been engaged twice before. Kafka did have an existing relationship relationship with woman, but as with with the picture, it was not very close, as though there was a piece of glass between the couple. He was never able to love completely and broke off most of his relationships due to his lack of self-confidence. Franz Kafka expressed and mirrored his life and feelings through the transformation of Gregor Samsa. Samsa. These two men both saw their lives through the the same spectacle, but only one really existed.
Davis 4 Works Cited: Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. and Ed. E d. Corngold, Stanley. Stanley. New York: York: Norton, 1996. Pgs. 3-74.