“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.” The preceding quote is an excerpt from Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” which is a novella about Gregor, a salesman, who unexpectedly turns into a huge, unidentified insect one morning. ‘The Metamorphosis” is an allegory for humankind and Gregor’s transformation is more of a symbolic one than a physical one.
The book is sectioned into three sections and the author begins the first section of the book with this line 'As Gregor Samson awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect'. Which eases and introduces the readers to the idea of a human being unexplainably turning into an insect. Gregor then realizes that he’s late for work and that he missed his bus and fails to feel any sort of inconvenience in regard to his physical transformation. He slowly starts to get familiar with his new body while stressing out about how he’s going to get to work. His family realizes that something’s off because his voice sounded different when he answered their calls and as a result started knocking on his door aggressively. His boss arrives and expresses his disappointment in Gregor in regard to his tardiness. Gregor attempts to talk to his boss and explain to him the reasons why he wasn’t able to come to work and ends up opening the door and showing himself whilst forgetting that he’s now transformed into a huge insect. Gregor’s attempt at talking ends up shocking and scaring away his boss and his family. Therefore, he goes back into his room.
From that day on, Gregor continued a lonesome and monotonous life. He started finding comfort in crawling up the walls, hiding under the sofa, and hanging from the ceiling. He no longer liked fresh foods and he preferred rotten foods that his sister brought into the room. He started hiding under a sheet as a way to make it easier for her when she comes into the room. Over time, taking care of Gregor started to feel more like a chore to his family. And they started doing it less attentively. One day, his mom and his sister came in to move the furniture to make it easier for him to crawl but that wasn’t what he really wanted and he couldn’t help but think if they were doing it to make themselves feel better about the low effort they put in taking care of him or if they actually want him to feel more comfortable. He spots his poster of the lady and the muff and he places himself over it so they’re unable to grab it. The sight of his body shocks his mother and causes her to faint which causes Gregor to panic. His father gets back home and realizes what has happened which led to him throwing apples at Gregor eventually injuring his back.
Another month passes by while Gregor is in recovery from his back injury and he can’t help but feel neglected by His family who is always exhausted due to the jobs they have picked up. They also took on three lodgers as an additional source of income. One night, his sister was playing violin for the lodgers, Gregor heard this and was instantly captivated by the music and that led him to peek out the door. He found the lodgers looking bored and suddenly found himself crawling out of the room to get closer to the music. The lodgers spotted him in the corner and they instantly felt disgusted and announced that they were leaving without paying for the time they’d spent in the apartment so far. This upset his family and they quickly expressed their frustration with this creature that they didn’t even consider a part of the family anymore. Gregor upsettably returned to his room and thought about how much love he had for his family till he passed away. Though the family was initially feeling a little bit of sadness, it faded away fast when they realized that they no longer had to take care of him. They felt like a weight was lifted off their shoulders and they were so happy that they started thinking of finding a husband for Grete to marry.
“The Metamorphosis” is an allegoric story with complex symbolism that carries a plethora of different themes like alignment, sacrifice, and the burden of responsibility. The story can also be interpreted in many different ways which I think is one of the reasons why it propels. The author managed to turn an absurd story into a devastating metaphor. Metamorphosis is indeed a thought-provoking, guilt-inducing read. The words are amazing, but it's what you experience that makes it such a wonderful book it’s a story that you need to analyze to understand its true magnificence.