In the opening paragraph, Gregor wakes up one day seemingly randomly after having worked as a travelling businessman for five years to support his family and finds that he transformed into a vermin (a roach or some kind of beetle) overnight. The setting takes place in the early 1900s, all going on during the international strive towards industrialization, but a distance from the internet and communications age of today. This allows the reader to understand the situation of the Samsa family members—that they live in an urban apartment, yet separate themselves from the outside world and isolate and confine themselves to their own family affairs. In modern society, one can connect with this feeling of isolation and also sudden change in fortunes in that in this nonstop and rapidly moving era, things may seem as if they change overnight, and what one might expect to find in the morning may not be there—or at least in the expected state. In this opening paragraph, I was intrigued by its suddenness and how the story just jumps right into the action where poor Gregor’s troubles all begin. I was also both repulsed and drawn by Kafka’s detailed depiction of Gregor’s newly acquired roach-like form.
In the second paragraph of chapter one, Kafka connects Gregor to his human life, contrasting the life he lives with that of the monster he turned into. In doing so, Kafka distances the two lives of Gregor, forced apart by his sudden and unfortunate change in fate, and removes any possibility of the complete acceptance of his becoming a monster. In this setting, everything appears modern and “normal”. He describes Gregor’s room as one ordinary of his time and even an ordinary room of our time. Through this modernization of Gregor’s environment, the reader can easily understand Gregor’s upbringings and the social consequences inevitable to the poor monster. Though one will most likely never go to sleep a human and wake as anything but a human, this situation has the social...
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