The Metamorphosis: A Stylistic Analysis


Some believe that, everyone who writes is a writer. Others take a more conservative standpoint saying that writers are those who write with the ideal writing structure. The literary genius, Logan Pearsall Smith gives those prospering writers, readers, and thinkers’, insight into the mind of a knowledgeable writer stating that, “ It is not what an author says, but what he or she whispers, that is important.”

To myself, Smiths’ words translate, that anything can be written on a page satisfying you with what your supposed to feel and see. One can nurture these thoughts and increase the power of these same images and emotions, by relaying their story through an underlying message. By not putting a clear face on the true purport and significance, the force field of meaning is expanded. Simultaneously blooming the readers’ capacity for exploration and interpretation, especially when the writer uses writing elements that enable to the reader explore the piece in a different light. Franz Kafkas, “The Metamorphosis,” is presented as a story of a man’s metamorphosis into a bug. Thrown wildly about, unto a concealed, twisted tale of his family. Aside of just being an intriguing story, “The Metamorphosis,” is also a strong example of how the use of writing elements can alter the way a story is interpreted. From early on in this short story, Kafka intertwines many writing elements, to intentionally unveil the shadowed roots holding the story upright. These elements sub-consciously guide your mind towards highlighted aspects of relationships, revealing a deeper and more meaningful story the first perceived. Though un-unique to many writers of the past, Kafka choice goes un-condemned as he conveys the underlying meaning by use of stylistic writing elements such as, Irony, and metaphors.

This story beings in the early morning, as a man by the name of Gregor arises from a deep sleep, only to look down and set his eyes upon, “A little dome like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments” (67). Even after Gregor describes in detail the gritty details of his mew appearance and proves to be aware of his metamorphosis into a vermin, Gregor acts as if he’s arising on any normal day. Gregor even furthers the emotion or, lack there of, of his discovery and goes as far to say, “ But what’s the use of lying idly in bed” (72). This is ironic because it can be truthfully stated that a fairly large percentage of people at first glance of themselves in a different new body would have some strong emotional change.

What else does Gregor plan on doing, if not remaining in bed? In fact, Gregor mentions that he, “…better get up, since [his] train goes at five” (69). This ironic, train of thought supports the steadfast point that Kafka’s stylistic and elemental choices enable the reader to search deeper. And, look into why one might be so calm, when they appear to have transformed into a vermin overnight. As one searches through this foggy significance, it is clear that these relationships go deeper than a loving happy family. And, more irony is introduced. Except now, it comes from different members of Gregor’s family. Gregor appears to have become a vermin yet continues to go above and beyond in an attempt to keep his family happy. He apparently supports his family, pays for their every need, and does so with the ability to say that, “These had been fine times and they never recurred” (95). Kafka connects this feeling to Gregors portrayal of his father and his, “…laborious though unsuccessful life,” (97). Enabling the reader to see the complete opposite representations of Gregor and his fathers’ ability to provide.

It has been shown that there is a suggestion of reliance between Gregors’ family and himself. It is also very clear, that the care Gregor has thrust upon his family as they remained there with open arms, proves to be a very one-sided relationship. Kafka represents Gregors’ struggles and strong spirit, as he plans to open his door himself. To relieve the familiar cries of his parents as they call for a locksmith and with all his might, “…[Gregor clenches] his jaws recklessly on the key” (81). The pain Gregor is with standing to ease the worried calls of his families’ ideas that he may be sick is enormous. After a lugubrious attempt to open the door to his locked room in his new repulsive form, to ease his families’ minds, the struggle Gregor puts toward his families comfort proves to fail. For when, “…[Gregor pulled] the door towards him, he was still invisible when it was really wide open” (81).

This Metaphor of an open door has been used through out many novels, short stories, poems, and many other literary works throughout the ages. Kafka uses this un-subtle metaphor to relay to the reader the basic under lying relations in, “The Metamorphosis,” and shows that Gregor is truly invisible to his entire family, even in the most obvious positions and obscure forms. This discovery lets the readers mind bookmark this relationship. So one can find quieter meanings by knowing the jest of the set interpretation, and keep their eyes open for these specifics.

The idea Kafka is relaying within his story, “the metamorphosis,” proves to be strongly centered, around, Gregor’s family and their relationships. Kafka does this by weaving his story of Gregor with thought provoking irony, and has the reader sub-consciously searching further for the deeper reasoning for the many ironic reactions. Essentially, Franz Kafka literary usage, has made the reader find subtle, unique attributes in this family and piece their relationships together. Kafkas’ ambiguous work, gives the reader a newly discovered tenor and portrayal of his intertwining relationships, and surrounds the reader with a better understanding of Gregor. Enabling more profound vision of the true meaning, and, the ability to view the story with more complex, multi-level insight.

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