Saturday, November 7, 2009

November Novella - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Title: The Metamorphosis
Author: Franz Kafka
Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics
Genre: Fiction
Paperback, 54 pages
Date Published: 2003

Description (Taken from Amazon)
One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug. He lay on his armour-hard back and saw, as he lifted his head up a little, his brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bow-like sections. From this height the blanket, just about ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place. His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of his circumference, flickered helplessly before his eyes.

Absurdist fiction is a genre of fiction, drama or poetry that centers on the behavior of absurd characters, situations or subjects. While a great deal of absurdist fiction is humorous in nature, the hallmark of the genre is not humor, but rather the study of human behavior under circumstances that are highly unusual. Absurdist fiction posits little judgment about characters or their actions; that task is left to the reader.
The Metamorphosis follows the life of Gregor Samsa, an ordinary traveling salesman who is transformed into a large bug. The sometimes humorous, oftentimes pitiful, and usually saddening treatment Gregor then endures at the hands of his own family make for a deeply affecting story.

This novella had me hooked from page one. Gregor is the average joe who strives to care for a family that doesn't truly appreciate him to begin with. His transformation into this disgusting creatures brings to light a rift within the family that was never noticed before. Gregor is the type of person who strives to please everyone and his transformation forces him to become something that is entirely different from himself. He is, for once, almost free; but in his new freedom, he becomes trapped. He becomes a living creature, but a living, dead man.

The Metamorphosis paints a hauntingly painful picture of life in a world that is both unaccepting and cruel. It was an excellent read and I highly recommend reading it.

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