Frank Kafka

Topics: The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa Pages: 6 (2604 words) Published: April 7, 2008
Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 - 3 June 1924) was one of the major German-language fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class Jewish family in Prague, then part of Austria-Hungary. His unique body of writing - much of which is incomplete and was published posthumously - is among the most influential in Western literature. His novella, The Metamorphosis (1915), concern troubled individuals in a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world. The criticism that Nina Pelikan Straus put on the metamorphosis is completely about feminist issues. In her article “Transforming Frank Kafka’s Metamorphosis”, she concentrates on how Kafka’s language is ambiguous which works in favor of feminism. Straus indicates that each literary critic has their own slant to their criticism which is a “literary Rorschach test ……..” Like Leadbeater, Straus believes that the story is more about Grete’s metamorphosis than Gregor’s. She “blossom” ‘s into something replacing Gregor. Straus points out that there is shame in the fact that Gregor is reduced to being dependent on someone and feels that Kafka is impressed the way women keep their bodies and houses clean. Straus also states in her article that the picture in the story, Gregor identifies with as a sexual way, that he is attracted to her in a heterosexual way. Grete taking the dominant role takes the picture down as she feels the picture is pornographic and derogatory towards women. The story “Metamorphosis” starts out with Gregor Samsa , a traveling salesman wakes in his bug looking like a grotesque bug. He has numerous legs hanging out from his body and is unable to get out of bed. He wakes up complaining not that he has turned into a bug but that he has to go to work. Gregor would have quit his job along time ago but was unable to do so as his father owed his employer money. As the caretaker of the family, Gregor was obligated to pay the family debt. When he looks at the watch Gregor realizes that he has missed his 7 o’clock train. ues. A quick glance at the alarm clock tells Gregor that he has slept late and missed his train. If he rushes he might still be able to catch the 7 a.m. train, but even this won't spare him a tongue-lashing from his boss. He considers calling in sick, which he has never done, but suspects that his boss would then send a health-insurance doctor to check on him. Concerned, Gregor's parents and his sister Grete soon begin to knock on his door. In an altered voice, with brief and deliberate phrases, he tries to reassure them. He expends a quarter of an hour struggling with his air-beating limbs and unfamiliar body in an attempt to get out of bed. When Gregor, rocking back and forth, is on the verge of teetering off the bed and landing on his sturdy (he hopes) back, the doorbell rings. It is the chief clerk of the company come to see why he didn't leave by the early train. Gregor swings off the bed and onto the floor, banging his head in the process. Gregor's parents detain the chief clerk while imploring Gregor to open the locked door to his room. Gregor is still able to manage simple stalling phrases. At last, the chief clerk becomes impatient. In front of Gregor's parents, the functionary sets into a critical and demoralizing speech, even maliciously insinuating that perhaps Gregor is hiding in his room because of some unethical activity involving cash receipts. Gregor excitedly replies with a stream of words, pleading illness, offering assurances that he will make the eight o'clock train, and asking the man to spare his parents. While he speaks he maneuvers himself up against his wardrobe and is able, with considerable difficulty, to draw himself upright. He wants to open the door and then gauge the seriousness of his situation from the reaction of those outside. His family and the chief clerk become alarmed. They have not understood a word of his fevered reply. In fact, they do not recognize it as human speech. His mother sends Grete for the...
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