Metamorphoses and Other Stories


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I couldn't help but think about another book I read last year, Still Alice which is about a woman in her fifties, a brilliant Harvard psychology professor, who finds herself suddenly stricken with early onset Alzheimer's Disease. And though you may be thinking where the hell I am going with linking this book to Kafka's classic masterpiece, just bear with me. You see, in Still Alice there is a lot of talk about not only the disease and what it does to the mind, but what it does to a person, socially and emotionally. It discusses about how people with illnesses of that sort are marginalized by society, treated as less than human, and somehow tossed aside when their illness starts interfering with the plans of those closest to them.

That is where Kafka's story struck a chord in me. And that is what I want to talk about. Because seriously, it is absurd to think that a hard working young man will just wake up one day to find himself turned into a large bug. But it is not all that unrealistic for a hard working young man to have woken up one day with a condition, a stroke is what entered my mind at the time which renders him unable to communicate, work, get out of bed, move around they way he is used to.

It may make relating to people difficult, it may change the way he looks physically, make him think he is ugly or useless or disturbed. Gregor, the main breadwinner and all-around people pleaser of the family, is suddenly no longer himself. And therefore no longer of use to his family. Although I think Kafka takes his ill treatment by his family a little too far on the dramatic side, I think he has a lot to say about how we treat those who have taken care of us when we find ourselves having to take care of them.

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

Elderly, sick, and disabled people are every day mistreated, ignored, left to live in nursing homes, forgotten, and marginalized. Reading a story that is this absurd and in your face really made that other, less talked about reality hit home in a big way. And DRY. And that is why it only gets 2 stars.

Because though I appreciate what Kafka is saying, and enjoy the underlying theme of this story, it was not at all enjoyable for me to read.

I felt it was a chore, something I HAD to do. And reading should never make me feel like that. Now I know what you all are thinking. Jess's favorite book of all time is The Stranger which is pretty much the epitome of depressing existentialist bullshit. It doesn't make me feel like I'm having a brain hemorrhage in order to get the point. And that is what makes it so uncomfortable to write a review for a book that I hate, but respect.

And I do respect this book and this author. I'm just not sure I will ever read anything of his again. Because seriously, thinking about reading this shit again makes me want to kill myself. Thanks to my favorite pantsless, non-crunchy pals for buddy reading this. Sorry I found it Crunchy, guys. On the other hand, Tadiana actually read it in its original German and liked it so much better than I did. You can read her beautiful review here because she also has a lot to say and does a much better job than I.

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Other Titles by Franz Kafka

Jun 04, Brian rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , literary , poetry-poetic , short-stories , philosophy-philosophical. When I first heard of him, I classified him as one of those writers people like so they can have some self-validation about their intelligence, like an association with college professors of something.

Reading Kafka reminded me of an experience I had on the playground as a child. They had these massive tires hanging by chains. Children sat on them and someone pushed as they swung around. I finally swallowed my fear and tried it. The first time scared the hell out of me, and I walked away with trembling, wobbling legs. Kafka soaked into my mind the same way. Be an individual. The guy asked me if I needed it for school.

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I read a few stories and find his skill amazing. He really is. But I regret nothing. I left with a smile on my face, and plan to read his stories again, and again, and again. Who knows? To me, these stories come together like one big piece.


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They speak out against injustice, and pierce with searing acuity. He disguises deep, philosophical feelings and thoughts beneath actors on a stage. The curtain pulls away and the words Kafka wants to say come through the sublime manifestation of story. As I read his work, I found my mind immersed and invaded with his thoughts, his words, his ideas, his emotions.


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  • I read of children oppressed in lower class societies and waves of word patterns swept me into a sea of tears and passion. It goes deeper, much deeper, and one who becomes bored with the knowledge they have may find this interesting, as Kafka walks us past locked treasure chests only a deeper consciousness and many rereads may reveal. View all 5 comments.

    Jul 01, Greg rated it it was amazing. Maybe could be titled Metaphor. When one starts to bug one's parents, it's time to move out.

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    View 2 comments. May 12, Raul Bimenyimana rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Strange, incredibly well written stories. The characters are all helpless to the events happening around and to them and thus are rendered observers to their mostly unfortunate fates, as much as they are subjects. Through them, we go step by step immersed in their own sense of helplessness and alienation. The prose is incredible and concise, filled with clear and rich descriptions so that whether it is pain, fear or even disgust, we're transported to these inescapable situations and l Strange, incredibly well written stories.

    The prose is incredible and concise, filled with clear and rich descriptions so that whether it is pain, fear or even disgust, we're transported to these inescapable situations and left marvelling by the time the tale comes to its end.

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    I'm still quite dazzled by these stories and hope to re-read this book soon. Aug 19, K. Shelves: fantasy , short-stories , classics , philosophical , saddest , challenging.

    Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

    This book is composed of 6 short stories by Franz Kafka. The writing is glorious and the storytelling is engaging. However, most of the messages are unclear to me.

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