The Metamorphosis : Book Review

About the book

  • Title : Metamorphosis
  • Original Title : Die Verwandlung
  • Author : Franz Kafka
  • Year of publishing : 1915
  • Genres : Novella, psychological fiction, short story, fantasy fiction
  • Number of pages : 100

About the author

Kafka’s biography read almost like a critical analysis of his work, for so much of the neurotic tension of his writing finds its clear origin in the events of his life. Kafka was an outsider from the start.

Kafka’s ambivalent take on authority- his ability to respect it , rebel against it, and blame himself for everything- seems to come mainly from his relationship with his father. He continued writing in the evenings while living with his parents and three sisters, learning to place himself in a writing trance to block out the noise.

Much of Kafka’s early writing is lost, bht 1912 proved to be a breakthrough gear for him as he wrote some of his most important stories, including The Judgement, The Metamorphosis etc. Kafka moved through several apartments in the next few years to get away from the noise if his parent’s home to escape his father’s influence.

Never famous in his own lifetime, Kafka did have an audience of admirers within a small circle of German- reading intellectuals. Today, people use the word Kafkaesque to signify senseless and sinister complexity.

Analysis of the book

The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities across the world.

Kafka wrote The Metamorphosis in 1912, the year he felt his creativity finally taking a definite form. The writing process on this novel was laborious, taking three weeks in November and December, and the final product turned out to be the longest work Kafka ever completed in his life.

The style of the book epitomises Kafka’s writing. The style send to ground the story in reality, cutting off any possibility of its having been a dream, and get the story itself is of an impossible occurrence.

The Metamorphosis as professed earlier, is an autobiographical piece of writing, and we find that parts of the story reflect Kafka’s own life. It is well known that Kafka felt like an insect in his father’s authoritative presence and even developed a stammer whole speaking to him

” One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century” – Guardian

” What Dante and Shakespeare were for their ages, Kafka is for ours” – George Steiner

Summary of the story

” One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin”

Gregor Samsa is a travelling salesman who after waking up one morning from sleep finds out that he has been transformed into a large insect in his sleep. He thinks that he is still dreaming so he sleeps again but he remains the same even after waking up again. He tries to move and roll but he can’t do that because of the backbone he has now in his body is stiff.

He looks at the watch and sees that he is late for his work and hears his mother asking him to open the door but he can’t move so he couldn’t open the door. After that he hears his manager talking with his family because of Gregor’s absence in the office. His manager when came to his door and started threating him he anyhow open the door and the manager was shocked on seeing him like that.

After that, his sister Grete used to take care of his brother and used to give him food , but Gregor didn’t like the fresh milk which was one of his favourites because because of the transformation his mind and every habit was now changed.

One day, some boarders came to listen to the music of Grete but, Gregor out of excitement came out of his room and the boarders on seeing him goes away from there and thus it is when his family decide that Gregor was doing harm to their family. Gregor was the only earning member of his family but after his transformation they were poorly stricken with poverty.

On hearing that Gregor decides to die and later when it was revealed that he died,his family became very happy and relieved and they move into another house.


Gregor started living by accepting the way he was now but he also felt very bad for his family because it was he because of whom his family became very poor all over again. When he saw that he was not giving any benefit to the family, instead becoming a trouble for them he decides to kill himself. This book allows us to learn about the absurdity of existence, alienating experience of modern life, and the cruelty and incomprehensibility of authoritarian power.

” As Samsa struggles to reconcile his humanity with his transformation, Kafka, very deftly, weaves his readers into a web that deals with the absurdity of existence, the alienating experience of modern life,and the cruelty and incomprehensibility of authoritarian power, leaving them at once stunned and impressed.”

” The Metamorphosis is a book that concerns itself with the themes of alienating, disillusionment and existentialism.”