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The Metamorphosis

Page history last edited by Brian Jennings 8 years, 9 months ago


Comments (7)

Paul Hoggatt said

at 11:50 am on Apr 19, 2012

Who reads this for "fun?"

Brian Jennings said

at 8:20 pm on Apr 19, 2012

Well, I'm your Huckleberry. Of course, I'm also reading an obscure Melville novel for kicks, so perhaps I shouldn't be trusted. But really, what's more fun than a story about a guy who turns into a giant cockroach? Seems like most of my Mondays. Realism at its best.

Troy Kozak said

at 8:15 pm on May 10, 2012

What a comment on work and what we work for. I'm sure I've felt like Gregor before; who hasn't had a rotting apple lodged in their back?

Brian Jennings said

at 8:38 pm on May 11, 2012

Yeah, I can't help thinking this book should be mandatory reading for anyone alive today, especially those who buy into the idea of "efficiency" as the highest goal of economics, culture, education, etc. I also can't help thinking we live in Kafka's world. Doesn't it feel like sometimes our worth as humans is how efficient we are vs. how much we inspire a belief in common humanity, love and live deeply, etc.? Haven't we all as teachers felt like one bad day or one wrong word could make people see us as a giant liability to the institutions, economy, etc. we're part of? That no one would say, "you poor guy" they'd simply start chucking apples at us? I taught this once in class (and maybe should again next year) and we dwelled on the idea that maybe "The Metamorphosis" was the wrong title because Gregor's humanity was stripped from him before he turned into a giant bug, with the caveat that perhaps as a bug he gains more humanity and this is the transformation Kafka was talking about. Have you read The Trial or The Castle?

Troy Kozak said

at 12:40 pm on May 12, 2012

I heartily agree in the lessons of this book. Certainly when we work for something we are passionate about we get to appreciate the full range of emotions of that passion. The bad moments feel career-ending, and the good ones re-affirm your zest. Gregor and his family can't appreciate work for its worth, but only work for its means. Perhaps the greatest metamorphosis in the book is that of the family. They do not appreciate Gregor, and when they are forced to work themselves they continue their ignorance of his self-sacrifice. Once he is gone, however, they all understand how much they appreciate themselves and their jobs. Certainly their perception of efficiency has changed in those last pages.
Having finished The Metamorphosis, I'm wondering how much of it I ever read; perhaps only a few pages describing his transformation (I'm beginning to think it might be a good idea to examine these in Creative Writing). I'm not as familiar with his work as I should be, so I think The Trial and The Castle might make their way onto my summer reading list.

Daniel "Leibniz" Polokonis said

at 11:10 am on Jun 5, 2012

You English teachers have piqued my interest. I am going to read the Metamorphosis shortly, but I also have some other Kafka short stories in the book I got from the library. Anyone read The Judgement, The Stoker, In the Penal Colony, A Country Doctor, An Old Leaf, A Hunger Artist, Before the Law, or Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse People? I would like some guidance on which of these might be worth reading. Thanks lit-heads!

Brian Jennings said

at 8:22 pm on Jun 7, 2012

In my book, everything Kafka wrote should be mandatory reading. The most anthologized short pieces are probably In the Penal Colony, A Hunger Artist and Before the Law.

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