Critique of Literary Aspects and the Mental Analysis of Importance in Franz Kafka’s ‘The Transformation’ Sarah Long October 13, 2010 ENG 125 Intro to Literature Deborah Duff Worldwide of literature, there are few books that can impact ones life the manner in which Franz Kafka’s “The Transformation” impacted mine. There are various styles that stream through “The Metamorphosis”, and many elements of significance, that in most cases could not be deciphered with out the crucial study of Kafka’s life experiences and outlooks.
Although a clear understanding of Kafka as a man is beneficial and ultimately essential for the literary analysis of “The Metamorphosis”, Kafka composed it with out the understanding that a person day his words would be interpreted on a level beyond the intelligence of the typically educated man or woman. This reality permits anybody to enter the world of Gregor Samsa totally blind to the forensics behind the story, and still be able to continue with out restraint (Gray 86). The Metamorphosis” is sustained with compassion, and built on the basic aspects of life that cause pain and incite fear in people; change, rejection, paralysis (which is technically the loss of control of one’s self), failure, loneliness, and death. “The Transformation” is ultimately a tale of death, although literary scholars have considered it an allegory between great and evil, and dream and reality. In Lectures on Literature, Vladimir Nabokov concludes in regard to “The Metamorphosis” that, “any impressive artwork is a fantasy insofar as it shows the unique world of a distinct person. (Nabokov 252). Although Nabokov was describing “The Transformation” when he stated the above, his declaration can be used to give a basic understanding of all of Kafka’s works, which are often analyzed side by side for the sheer reality that all of his works contain and maintain the very same overall themes. In addition to Nabokov’s analysis of “The Metamorphosis”, there is a wide variety of other analyses, which is the case in regard to all of Kafka’s works.
In The Analyst’s Despair, by Stanley Corngold, over 130 analyses of “The Metamorphosis” are gone over, including the frequently neglected Freudian analysis, a psycho-analytical perspective that shines light on the really important function that gender and sexuality play in figuring out the spinal column behind Gregor’s character, which originate from problems with both maternal and paternal control (Flores 259), and even more strengthens the parallels between Gregor and Kafka.
The Freudian technique to evaluating Kafka’s “The Transformation” is, in my viewpoint, the most affective way of actually deciphering and understanding what Kafka was making with this story. Although the creative minutes need to be acknowledged with the exact same decree, I do not feel that they can properly reveal the several layers of thought took into the building and construction of “The Metamorphosis”. Kafka would disagree with me though, he considered psychoanalysis “a defenseless error”, and felt that Freud’s theories were “approximate, very rough photos, which did not do justice to details, or what is more, to the essence of the matter. (Nabokov 256). The most apparent style that Corngold talks about is how Kafka uses Gregor’s misfortune to show society’s treatment of those who are different. It is these aspects of social conformity and the lessons that each individual who reads it draws from it, that offers “The Transformation” the proper literary elements to be correctly defined, in my viewpoint, as a myth. More speculation concludes that Kafka used “The Metamorphosis” to sarcastically approach the absurdity of human presence; this factor has enabled “The Metamorphosis” to be evaluated from an existential viewpoint.
Whatever route of interpretation is preferred, none of them will make total sense with out taking a look at Kafka’s extremely distinct style of making up a piece of literature. “The Metamorphosis” was one of the couple of pieces of composing he released throughout his life, and it wasn’t up until after his death in 1924 that all he had actually dealt with was lastly published. It was just then that his works became a focal point for literary critics around the globe, and ultimately developed the reputation that is Kafka (Cornwald xi ).
His signature design is a control of standard literary design and structure (Gray 83), blended with a subtly complex grip of psychological affect. Kafka is one of the couple of writers that can handle to reverse the fundamental design of an Aristotelian narrative, by preventing the drama that leads to the climactic moments in the story, or in some cases playing with the manner in which the drama unfolds (Greenberg 69). Some may believe that this would trigger a piece to be eventually uneventful, but on the contrary Kafka captures his readers in either the first sentence or the very first couple of paragraphs of “The
Metamorphosis” by producing circumstances that develop such a component of disbelief that one has no choice however to continue reading. While keeping attention slave through the suspension of shock, Kafka utilizes concepts components beyond the human aircraft of sight and idea, while effectively incorporating the principles of presence. Kafka’s writing is entirely surreal, and through paradox, and the usage often subtle, in some cases clear symbolism, he takes the astounding and puts it right in the middle of a setting which anybody can relate to.
In my personal opinion, I do not feel that Kafka’s works can be compared to any other writers, which leads me to think that his impacts can just be drawn from his personal life, instead of that of other authors. In contrast to my viewpoint, “The Transformation” has actually been compared to Leo Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich, a short novel based off the fundamental basics of existentialism, that Kafka called a “fantastic preferred” (Greenberg 70). “The Metamorphosis” is compared to Death of Ivan Ilyich on the basis that they both focus on the primary characters rejection to acknowledge his death.
In addition to Tolstoy’s influence, it is a documented truth that Kafka based his writing style on that of Gustave Flaubert, who abhored the over used “pretty-prose” and thinned down viewpoints that many authors produced. It is with Flaubert’s works where Kafka learned the art of ironic precision, through the appropriate use of language, and how to deliver it with out making his private beliefs mindful on the immediate surface (Nabokov 256). Although the outdoors impacts are necessary to the origin of “The Transformation”, it is Kafka’s usage of importance that provides the story its real depth.
Kafka’s usage of a pest to depict the prison that Gregor is caught, has numerous aspects of symbolism alone. In “The Metamorphosis”, it is made really clear early on, prior to Gregor’s family knows his change, that his daddy, Mr. Samsa, brings hostility to Gregor’s life. In the discussion that happens in between Gregor and his household through his bed room door (Kafka 5-6), when each member speaks, there is a description following their statement. Mrs. Samsa spoke, and it was described as “gentle”, his sis Grete “moaned carefully”, while Mr.
Samsa’s way of speaking was referred to as a “caution voice”, certainly an effort to instate fear and regret. After Gregor reveals his “brand-new self”, we are more notified how intensely his father has no sympathy for the things Gregor is withstanding or has actually withstood. Rather than feeling any form of sympathy for Gregor, which is displayed plainly through the shock and upset of his mother and sis, Gregor’s father reveals rage, requiring a blanket of failure over Gregor, due to the fact that he can no longer work and repair the disastrous financial circumstance that Mr. Samsa produced in the very first location.
It is Mr. Samsa’s lack of sympathy towards Gregor that makes the function of an insect so crucial. In the animal world, the concept of a dad does not exist. In the insect world, the function of a mother and father, or household for that matter, does not exist. Later on, when the rest of Gregor’s family disconnects from him, the connection between being a pest and the lack of familial interaction fit together completely (Flores 259). Here is Kafka creating a mirrored image of his own sensations towards a father figure, which was something he constantly did not have in his own life (Flores 259, Nabokov 274).
Another major aspect of the meaning behind Gregor’s being an insect has it birth in the theories of one of Kafka’s main impacts, existentialism. Animals and pests are not required to comprehend or deal with the problems and feelings that human beings must handle. Animals and insects, even if discovered in a pack, are solitary creatures, and do not wilt into states depression and social dysfunction if contact with other animals is not prevalent in their life. Being alone is not a worry, or even an emotion, that state, a cockroach, would have.
The concept that animals and pests could make it through life with out any of the tensions that makes human beings so strange, amazed Kafka (Greenberg 82). He is making a point of the absurdity of human feeling and social viewpoint by offering a cockroach human traits, a real representation of just how overbearing the concerns of being human, could be (Flores 255); but this is not a display of how oppressive being alive is, due to the fact that if the cockroach Gregor had become never experienced human thought, he would have survived.
He passed away from the pain of change, and from the inability to give up the characteristics that made him who he was in his former, human, life (Emrich 145). It is a strong existential theory, that as soon as you are removed from life or society, your worth dissipates and you are forgotten, which Gregor eventually was. Similar to an actual insect or animal, Gregor no longer has an origin or a fate, just the capability to reside in the present moment (Flores 259). Something else I discovered fascinating about Kafka’s use of a cockroach, is the truth that cockroaches are well-known for surviving any type of earthly scenario or catastrophe.
If earliest and most difficult bug on the Earth can not make it through the hazards of human idea procedures, or purposely endure the cruelty of society, that is not stating much for the human race. Beyond his problems with household and society, at the time Kafka wrote “The Metamorphosis”, he was identified with tuberculosis, a diagnosis that throughout the 1900’s basically meant death would be showing up sooner than one expected. If “The Transformation” is actually as paralleled to Kafka’s life as speculated, this could explain the style of death that “The Transformation” is based on.
It likewise explains the existential aspects that constantly stream through the story. Gregor, although alive in the flesh, may as well be dead from page one, just like Kafka, although alive, might too close his casket door the moment the physician tells him he has tuberculosis. This over all require to deal with self-conclusion, is undoubtedly the theme of “The Metamorphosis”, however it is enhanced extremely gracefully by the way in which Kafka puts together the structure of the story. Totally overlooking the standard format of the Aristotelian narrative, he produces a tale of death with out denouement.
The story opens with pure shock and disbelief “As Gregor Samsa awoke one early morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” (Kafka 3), which although is an extremely interesting first line, it can be a determiner that the story is going to go one of 2 ways. Since the novella now has informed you the most fascinating event in all of Gregor’s life, the ‘rest’ of the plot, has absolutely nothing left to do but diminish. This means either nothing but boring story, or the unfolding of a really complex circumstance that has no choice however to establish as intricately as any other piece of fiction.
Undoubtedly, in “The Transformation”, the latter of the two scenarios happens, and regardless that the high point of awe has currently happened, Kafka continues to shock and construct a story through the execution of 3 sub-climaxes, spread uniformly as requirement be through out the rest of the story (Greenberg 69). Opening the story with the climax is a risque method that is not effectively carried out by other fiction writers, however what Kafka did right, was open not just any story with the climax, however a story about death. The only factor that there is such a high level of astonishment in that first line, is not because it is explained to the eader that Gregor is dead, but because he has become an insect. If the first line discussed Gregor’s death due to heart attack, there would be a completely various reaction and the suspension of disbelief that Kafka produced through using nearly traumatizing humor, would be gone. After reading that our primary character has changed into a giant bug, there is no requirement to want to comprehend why he has actually become by doing this. On the contrary, I for instance, would like to know what was to become of him now that poor Gregor transformed into a “monstrous verminous bug”.
Humans are nosey in nature, and it is not uncommon to react towards the misfortune of others and the completely strange with serious interest. There is no doubt in my mind, that Kafka purposely prepared “The Metamorphosis” the way he did, as a joke, to make yet another observation into the pseudo-sympathetic and genuinely wicked mind of the human race. There is a plethora of other literary elements that are directly impacted by Kafka opening the story with the climax. First off, because the climax has already occurred, it is clear that the protagonist in our story is Gregor, since he has obviously gone through some quite major changes.
Kafka did another strange thing while writing “The Metamorphosis”; he not just gave Gregor the function of the protagonist, but also the function of one of the primary antagonists. I say ‘main antagonist’ due to the fact that in truth, everyone in Gregor’s life after his transformation is a villain. Gregor does an excellent job of tough himself and developing conflict that is not just individual, but conflict that impacts his entire family, and as if Gregor was not going through enough, his families suppression of what has actually really taken place to him that will impersonate the greatest challenge for Gregor to deal with.
It remains in the sub-climaxes that the chaos and misunderstanding regarding Gregor’s metamorphosis comes to a boiling point. In his very first appearance to his household, all the characters, whether protagonist or villains alike, modification drastically, another literary guideline Kafka played with in “The Transformation”, antagonists do not typically experience any type of modification or enlightenment. However, I like that Kafka freely altered the basic conception that the villains can not go through development and change though, since with out the tweaking of that component, the ending would never of been able to have as strong an impact as it has.
Gregor’s second appearance to his family is as pathetic as his attempt to get dressed for work the early morning of his change. If I there was a moment that this book could make me sob, the moment that Mr. Samsa wails the apples at his when child, now cockroach, would unquestionably be the designated time. Distressing elements of this scene aside, Kafka might not have actually represented the concern of sin that the entire house is holding on their backs, in any other way.
The apple in itself is a universal sign of initial sin, betrayal, and completion of creation. All of those aspects are exactly what is happening to Gregor at the very minute that apple is lodged into his back. His dad threw with that apple all the anger and resentment inside his heart, resulting in his kid establishing a wound that will never ever heal, similar to the wound that Gregor’s household has actually had to handle. But similar to Gregor’s household is blind to what his transformation actually is, Gregor is blind to the deep cut his ‘special needs’ has caused.
It is intriguing to even more the parallels in between Gregor’s wound and his family’s trauma, and to observe that Gregor’s wound continues to fester increasingly more everyday he lives, in the exact same way that his existence ends up being an even worse infection through his house as every day he continues to breath passes (Emrich 141, Greenberg 78, Gray 87). It is the wound in Gregor’s back that will eventually lead to his death. With Gregor’s death comes the end of the story, however not of the lives of the remainder of the characters. As I pointed out earlier, with out developing a situation where the villains modification, the end of the story would not have actually made sense.
Grete, Gregor’s sibling, at the end of the story has grown into a female. With Gregor now passed away, the family feels the problem of his change has actually been lifted. They understand that life is not a bad as it seemed, even before Gregor changed into a cockroach, and that while they were preoccupied with the pity of Gregor, they failed to recognize that their child is a fine woman who is at the time where she can be wed. With out even recognizing it, Gregor undoubtedly helped his sibling become a woman. His discomfort made her strong.
Her positive rebirth is straight associated to the unfavorable of Gregor’s modification and death. Kafka is really following a style in the majority of operate in the literary world here. Disaster creating renewal is popular in the majority of Shakespeare’s plays. “Romeo and Juliet” for instance, the feud of the 2 families is only solved through the death of their children. Death, or catastrophe, produces new outlooks and concepts, renewal (Gray 91). In between meaning and the control of literary format, Kafka has the ability to complete the standard foundation of contemporary and pre-modern drama.
There are numerous methods to interpret what Kafka was attempting to say to readers with “The Transformation”, and although there is a wide variety of books that speculate, no one truly understands. With every opinion and analysis, another theory is born in regard to “The Transformation”, making it among the most highly disputed pieces in literary history. Reference: Greenberg, Martin. The Horror of art: Kafka and Modern Literature. New York City, London: Standard Books, 1968. 69-91, 113-128. Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Corngold, Stanley New York City: Bantam, 1986. 1-195. Corngold, Stanley. Introduction. The Transformation.
New York City: Bantam, 1986. xi-xxii. Corngold, Stanley. The Commentators’ Misery: The Analysis of Kafka’s Transformation. New York City: Kennikat Press 1973. Nabokov, Vladimir. Lectures on Literature. Ed. Bowers, Fredson. New York: Harcourt, 1980. 250-284. Gray, Ronald. Franz Kafka. New York City: Cambridge University Press, 1973. 1-28, 29-48, 83-93. Emrich, Wilhelm. Franz Kafka: Important Study of His Writings. Trans. Sheema Zeben Buehne. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1968. v, 11-16, 79-81, 132-148, 164-168, 172-180, 337-341, Flores, Kate. “The Pathos of Fathership”. The Kafka Dispute. Ed. Flores, Angel. New York: Gordian Press, 1977. 254-272.