Loser's Guide Loser's Guide

 Loser's Guide to Life

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

There Are No Beetles in Kafka 

I don't think that “The Metamorphosis” is about a beetle. When Kafka wrote about animals, it was exclusively in the form of a fable: “Josephine, The Singer”, “The Burrow”, etc. Oddly enough, those stories seem to be about members of society in good standing. In “The Metamorphosis”, however, the beetle is quite different, a beetle where there shouldn't be one, and everyone is horrified. They talk about the identity of this beetle, but the problem is much broader than that. Seen a certain way, anyone can be a beetle. The individual, who is unique, a one-of-a-kind occurence in the world, how can he not be a complete alien to society? His uniqueness, the scope of this anomaly, is potentially horrifying to society, or he may imagine it to be so.

People say, “Why can't you act like a normal person?” But there is no normal person to emulate. People are frightened by their own uniqueness and try to overcome it.

I notice that Samsa wakes up one morning to find himself transformed. I think it means “suddenly realized” that he was who he was. In The Trial, Joseph K. also wakes up to find himelf “maligned”, again it seems to be a way of saying that he came to the conclusion without seeking it, in a moment of lucidity.

And so everyone is a monstrous beetle, insofar as he wants to do something with his life.


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