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Kafka – Metamorphosis. Autobiographical Reading Essay

791 words - 4 pages

Metamorphosis is a highly allegorical, polysemous novella written by Franz Kafka. It depicts the transformation undergone by the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, and recounts the reactions by himself and his family. The seemingly simple storyline is interwoven with numerous meanings and interpretations, perceived differently to every individual. The novella has many allegories and parallels to Kafka’s own life, as Kafka expressed his anxieties and criticisms of his own body image, his self-worth and his troubling relationship with his father and his family, conveyed to the audience for them to begin to understand the several complex layers of Kafka’s life.

Kafka explores his own troubled ...view middle of the document...

Just as Gregor is trying to pay off the debt for his family, Kafka felt crushing feelings of guilt towards his father, and an unpayable debt between the generations. This was also linked to Kafka’s own self-criticism of being a failure, and the perception of inadequacy compared to his father. Kafka was most definitely constrained, just as Gregor was imprisoned and trapped both physically (‘The door was slammed to with the stick’) and by the obligation to repay the debt. The explicit and exaggerated nature of Gregor’s conditions express Kafka’s feelings and anxieties, and give the audience an insight into the perceptions of Kafka’s father by Kafka himself.

Kafka’s anxieties and perceptions of his body, especially harsh self-criticism, is extensively explored and portrayed throughout his novella, particularly through the depiction of Gregor. Gregor, as an insect, is described as definitely repulsive, horrid and nightmarish; with a ‘hard, shell-like back’, ‘little white spots’ and ‘a brown liquid emerging from his mouth’. This physical description evokes a jarring sense of aversion in the audience, mirroring Kafka’s own opinions of his body. Beyond the revulsion caused by both Gregor and Kafka’s bodies, Kafka believed that his ‘unsatisfactory’ body was limiting him in society, alienating him, and preventing him from reaching his full potential. Gregor’s physical separation...

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