Franz Kafka is one of my favourite authors, his works reach in dark places of the soul. I have for a long time wanted to read his short story – “Metamorphosis” a story of the protagonist suddenly one morning turning into a giant cockroach.. Initially years ago, without having seen the publication date of this story, and not having yet read it… that is was something to do with the rise of Hitler, and Kafka’s Jewish Ancestry, I had misunderstood and had painted a picture of the short story for myself that had nothing to do with reality.
Having just finished reading a Thomas Mann novel, I was relieved at the much simpler language used, that I am more familiar with, the story of the Metamorphosis can be literally transferred to the protagonists change into the cockroach, but is more of the transformation of his family from lazy louts taking advantage of him, into productive members of society / family.
As with my other experiences with Kafka, there is darkness and sadness. This story is cruel in the treatment of the son upon his transformation, but is pivotal to the family finding in themselves the ability to forage for them selves and not be dependent on him as their only source of income. His love of the family pervades his attitudes towards them, and the non-reciprocity of those affections, upon his transformation are depressing, yet the story finishes on a positive note. One could simply assume that the son had died instead of his transformation, the story would be then inspiring, but I guess that’s why there is the term “Kafkaesque” when describing surreal nightmarish scenes & scenarios.