“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.”
With it’s startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first opening, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing—though absurdly comic—meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. As W.H. Auden wrote, “Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man.”
Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western literature.
His stories include “The Metamorphosis” (1912) and “In the Penal Colony” (1914), while his novels are The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926) and Amerika (1927).
Quotes From this Book
“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
“How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense…”
“Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.”