Geeking out about books that inspired me can give someone the chills. If you’ve read Kafka’s Metamorphosis you know exactly what I’m talking about. Gregor Samsa, the victim of the story, wakes up one day and finds that he has transformed into an insect. A bug!! Yikes! Can you imagine the horror of that? You go to sleep, and the next day you are just a disgusting bug! [I picture myself trying to get away from… myself!] When I first read Kafka’s masterpiece I was quite horrified. But then, after giving it some thought it occurred to me that poor Gregor was incredibly depressed. Yes, the Metamorphosis is a hideous account of someone who has depression, and a family who is unable to understand the illness and feels relieved when the problems are solved. That’s when the bug dies. And that was cruel, Kafka, I won’t forgive you that! Poor Gregor!
It’s not like Goldblum’s fly. He could see how the transformation took him over. Gregor found himself to be an insect: disgusting and with a terrible life. He is a salesman with horrible bosses; his life looks pretty grim. Granted, he brings all the money home, but, is he really living it? He finds himself transformed into an insect that does insect things like walking the walls. [Again, yikes! Damn you Kafka!] He is not human anymore. He is a monster who is putting his family with a great burden: they need money, but he cannot provide it because he is a useless vermin, because of him they cannot even rent rooms because he is an insect and thus it’s hard to live with such a creature. Thus, the only solution is if he leaves the family alone. So, he dies.
Gregor is the metaphor of a sad worker who falls into a deep depression. Being the only member who provides for his family, they cannot understand what’s happening to him. While he sees himself more and more as a burden and a monster to them, so the family members do. He goes from active member to dependent in the blink of an eye, forcing the rest of the family to provide. Without a diagnosis, Gregor is left out to believe to be a monster, deepening into his depression till death. The family, on their part, unable to understand him, they see him as a burden and someone who has changed too much. The new Gregor is for them something to be ashamed of, so he needs to go.
And this is how I read Kafka’s Metamorphosis. First horrified because I personally don’t like insects, and second as a case of depression and great misunderstanding. Needless to say that this book shook me to the bone! Not for the horror of the transformation itself, but because of the mental state in which Gregor finds himself and how disgusting he feels and others make him feel as well. He is a disgusting bug, he believes so, he acts like so, and so the rest of mortals see him as a disgusting bug.
This book made me realize that sad people could see themselves as hideous bugs. In acting in awkward ways, or in ways that I could never fathom, these people would close themselves into their rooms allowing few into them. Gregor had his sister, but, what if the one you let into your room is unable to understand you? Then, you’re lost forever. How many people are out there that feel like Gregor? Countless. We must not be like his family, but make efforts into trying to understand and support them. Judging someone who is sad because you don’t understand why is the worse thing you can do. Read the Metamorphosis. You’ll get what I mean.
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