Review: The Metamorphosis

The MetamorphosisThe Metamorphosis
by Franz Kafka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Metamorphosis / 0-553-21369-5

When I was in 9th grade, my somewhat harried teacher attempted to assign me Ovid's "Metamorphosis" (a collection of Greek myths) and instead assigned me Kafka's "Metamorphosis". Kafka's tale is short but packed with vivid symbolism in which a young man inexplicably wakes up one day as a large roach creature and subsequently fails to turn back into a man. After a confusing night with the novel, I reported back to the befuddled teacher, and she substituted another book, much to my young relief.

Years later, I now re-read Kafka with an adult's awe and appreciation, rather than the child's confusion. The novel is packed with deep symbolism and, even now, I could not tell you with confidence what it "means". I believe the story is of being trapped in a family that does not appreciate you, except for what you can do for them, and I believe the sad ending masks an even sadder one - that the young daughter will soon become the new symbolic 'roach' to the family, bringing in resources but never loved or appreciated. However, I have heard other interpretations, each meaningful and special. I recommend this book, but the first read through should be with a light eye, not questioning the strangeness nor looking too hard for meaning. Rather, I think Kafka is best when you allow the impressions to kind of wash over you as you go.

~ Ana Mardoll

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