quarta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2012

'The metamorphosis' - one interpretation

The metamorphosis is an awake. It was the end of one chapter in the life of to Gregor Samsa and now he will be turned in another completely different person-thing. It was an episode which split his world in one “before” and one “after”. It was his body telling his mind he could not continue his existence the way it was. This way, his body started to draw the attention to what was wrong in him. He continues to think exactly as before the episode, only his body has changed. Now, Gregor is forced to change his way of living.

“The metamorphosis”, the tale, is just the story of this after-life, of this new being – it starts exactly from the point where the omniscient narrator tells us Gregor has just changed, with one of the most famous sentence in the History of literature.
One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.
This line anticipates all the conflicts Gregor will need to confront. It already gives the apex of the history: the transformation [“Die Verwandlung”, in the original, in German]. It is like Kafka had decided to start his tale from the middle. After this, the reader will get in touch only with the consequences of this great turning point.

Before, Gregor Samsa was a lonely and methodical travelling salesman, who resided with his family, and hated his job. He needed to work to pay a debt with his boss his father had acquired.

This transformation, however, does not seem to affect him immediately. He still wants to follow his life as nothing had happened. His behaviour just changes when his parents and a colleague from work see how different and disgusting Gregor is. Now he could not pretend nothing has passed and must deal with it.

Anyway the metamorphosis changes more than his appearance. His new form is expressed as “nonsense”, his new life, a “chaos”, his transformation, a “misfortune”. He is called a “monster”, and seen as repugnant. He could not communicate himself to anyone else. The door, always closed, represents the distance between him and his family, him and the world. But his previous life was a torture for him. That is maybe one of the reasons why he didn’t pay much attention in his new body. It represented exactly the way he always had felt: a miserable vermin.

Before the transformation, the reader is told he used to act in two different and, can be said, complementary ways before his life. On one hand, he was selfish enough to never put himself as the responsible for all of his problems. He always complains about how horrible was his life, his job, how the world did not comprehend him, how he is an unknown for his colleagues and even for his family. He sought the same respect he used to have when he was lieutenant of the army and had vanished.

On the other, he always acted according to others point of view, not his own. He was a kind of robotic person, with no courage to face his parents, mainly his father, who we discover at the middle of the story, pretended was an ill person before the mutation not to work.

Now, his tastes, his habits, his abilities have changed. He dislikes his favourite food. The bedroom where he spent the last five years is a strange place.

The allegory of the vermin also can be interpreted as a kind of contagious illness. No-one wants to get in touch with him, and everyone is looking for the end of this suffering: the death of the sick. The allegory is stronger than the mere illness cited. Because the vermin is naturally disgusting, it shows the complete solitude of Gregor, and how one can become indifferent about others suffering. The reader is put on the position of Gregor’s parents, almost agreeing with them. It is “allowed” to avoid this “monster”. More than this – it is expected.

Soon, Gregor is forgetting his past, his other life. He is becoming used to this new form, as his family is also.

When he dies, on the beginning of spring, a metaphor for commencing a new life, his family feels relieved. They decided to take a break, to live a bit more together, to discover themselves as a family. They didn’t have a monster to take care of anymore.

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