I do not know how many of you have heard of the novella, Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, but do try it; it might just get you out of your comfort zone that may or may not have been blind to many circumstances often referred to as the follies of the unprivileged. People of any gender, class, and culture which may proclaim to be narrow-minded or as wide as a valley, all of them, when taking a step out of their zone of assurance, try as hard as those ambitious and intimidating emperors, to expect others to accommodate according to your niche. What if that doesn’t happen; what if you are not the one they want you to be; what if you do not want to be someone they expect you to be? Such toxicity and oppressive, dictatorial pressure.
Would you give in? Would you just let yourself go? Or would you glean the absolute best from the roots that are exclusively yours to exploit? With such bewildering questions, let’s see how Gregor Samsa lived his life when put in such a spot.
Most of Kafka’s works are related to his life, one way or the other; they depict many shots, often as metaphors, the different instances that he had to go through. Having read the book and then moving on to short stories in Spanish and English showed me various views on how the readers took Kafka’s 1915 publication. Some were negative, many positive, a few ambivalent responses, and a small portion of the mass confusion. Metamorphosis has been so influential that Xbox, PC, and Nintendo versions of the Kafkaesque interpretations were adapted to different views by genius game coders and are ready to be launched into the market. If you get your hands on it, play the game and experience some of the facts and aspects of life which are vehemently ignored by the society to make it seem perfectly integrated parts of civilization.
Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman by profession, was an individual who had to keep track of the train schedules and his savings, to help his beloved sister pursue her passion in music and to stand as a pillar for his family who was desperate for financial support after the bankruptcy, which in reality, triggered him to chain his soul, his desires and sacrifice himself. The poor guy was baffled as would all of us be when faced with circumstances which make us apperceive of the fact that we are different, not just different, profoundly diverse, here, an insect. Now, why would the author choose to portray himself as an insect? Why not a werewolf, a vampire, a monkey, which were much closer to being human?
As we go through Kafka’s history, his life, one can notice that he was often shunned due to regional isolation, religious issues, and the concept of masculinity and femininity shoved down the throat of many, even today. Still, it was much more horrifying and vivid in those days. His importance amounted to aught and his family, which was just amongst the millions of households that were adversely affected by the Industrial Revolution’s sudden encroachment. The workers were viewed as insects who were bound to follow orders, and their lives mattered as much as the grass that the capitalists trod on each day, in their deceptively embossed lawns. Thereupon, the metamorphosis into an insect instilled fear, hate, and above all, disgust even by his own family.
Samsa knew that he was a money spewing machine for his family. Even after being the breadwinner, his father wasn’t pleased with him, his body, actions, and profession, depicting the real-life experiences with his father. People’s opinions about him; his mother and sister saw him as a valuable asset until he turned into a bug, and the disgust of the colleagues, the maid, and the tenants in the home dispirited him as the time went by. Even with the abuse, he had to face, he always thought of his family and their needs, eventually following his death, which was precisely what they desired. His transition into a being that bloomed and behaved in contrast to the norms was unacceptable, and he found it excruciating to adjust to the new instincts that he had never felt before. It was indeed a metamorphosis, for the parents to regain their passion for work and the sister, to be recognized by the family; they left their dormant life and stepped into another world, where “the parasite” is no more.
By Sherina Sara Joy
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