Recently I had to re-read Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis for my English class, and I decided what the heck, I may as well review it. So this is where I tell you what I think, and then you can yell at me if it will make you feel better.
I hate the Metamorphosis. I hate this story like I hate Steinbeck, with a fiery passion. It brings out physical illness, I could keep going, but I bet you’ve got the point now. I know that it’s considered one of the greatest short stories ever written. That Kafka is meant to be flawless, etc etc. I just can’t agree.
For those of you who have not read this one yet, here’s what it’s about. Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning, but instead of being his usual self he is a bug. The story follows the family as they learn to cope with him being changed forever. At first his family still wants to stand by his side and his sister takes care of him, feeding him and cleaning up after him and such. Then the family starts to build a resentment against him. Eventually he dies and the family gets on with their lives.
Now, obviously there’s a lot more than that, but the above pretty much sums it all up. You can try to look for some deeper meaning in the text, I’ve tried, but really the story just pisses me off more everytime I try to read it. This past reading I just kept waiting for it to end. This is like a 30 page story for crying out loud. It shouldn’t be so painful.
Why do I hate it? After Gregor’s fathers business collapses he goes to work. He works for someone whom his father owes a debt. He pays all of the families expenses. He is the one who sees that the family has everything they need. So what do they do, sit on their asses and expect that he will continue to provide for them. That they won’t have to get off their asses to work for themselves. They’re content to just leech of Gregor for all-time. Then when he’s a bug and can no longer work they’re all, oh no we have no money what do we do? Perhaps more than one person should have been working to put money away, or help the kid out so he isn’t busting ass at a job he hates to pay off his fathers debt. WTF! Eventually everyone in the family is all whatever about Gregor. Out of sight, out of mind. No one wants anything to do with him until their resentment runs so deep that they flip out and scream that they can’t take it anymore. Well, his sister is actually the one who has the melt down. So they go after him, he dies, everyone is relieved. Yeah, relieved that a family member was trapped in a new weird body and then dies. Bitches.
My only other thing, If I were Gregor, and I woke up a bug one day, I’m not gonna be all nonchalant about it saying oh interesting, let me just get myself up here. I’m gonna be freaking the fuck out, yeah? Wouldn’t you?
So yeah, thats that. I pretty much can’t stand The Metamorphosis. Have you read it? If you have, do you like it or hate it? Why? Any other Kafka I should check out that I might actually like?
Oh, and if you wanna rant at me about hating on this story feel free. I don’t mind. We’re all entitled to our opinions here.
I hope you cleaned your review up a bit for your class… Haha
Other than that, it does show rather interesting aspects of human nature, doesn’t it? The tendency of people to just stay in their comfort zone, expect that things that have been taken care of in the past will be taken care of in the future with no effort from their part? That a fundamental change in the family dynamics is disruptive despite the initial attempt to accept it?
Think, for a second, if Gregor hadn’t really turned into a bug, but, say, paralyzed? Would the same have happened?
Oh, and I could be completely off the mark here, I haven’t read the book. 😀
As far as saying my thoughts in class, my professor is actually really cool about hearing what we have to say. So when I start swearing and shiting on the stories that I hate, of course backing it up with reasons he doesn’t care. I love getting professors like that.
As far as what you said about the story, you are spot on. I think that I would feel a whole lot differently if the family had acted different before and after the transformation, but then the whole point of the story would be changed. So I’ll just stick with my anger towards these characters reaching for the silver platter.
It’s unfortunate to think about, but it really does speak to the human condition and the weight a disability can place on a family. I recently read about a woman who stabbed her mentally challenged son to death because she just couldn’t take it anymore. Constantly taking care of him and not having the means to get any help.
True the story may be, and the points it highlights… it still pisses me off.
Oh, I’m so looking forward to reading this now… Haha. Actually I am. In some weird and twisted way I’m very much looking forward to us finding a book that we both absolutely hate! I just love being mean. And this one shows promise 😉
Haha, it’s 30 pages of pure torture for me, so who knows maybe you’ll feel the same. Can’t wait to see what you think.