If I was Gregor Samsa…

March 17, 2010

Over the past few days, my English classes have been exceptionally exciting. We embarked on the Kafka journey – The Metamorphosis. I once read this book prior to this unit in middle school. Yet, when I read it recently as a high school student, it was so new to me. The deep messages or morals, allegory, symbolism, and other literary devices are sheer pièce de résistance. (I learned this word from my fellow French student last week or so. It means masterpiece). It is just awe striking to see a short novel packed with heavy literary devices – especially, symbolism.

I was so immersed into this piece of art (I should refer to it as a masterpiece!) that often times before I go to bed, I imagine myself as Gregor Samsa. Gregor is the protagonist of The Metamorphosis, who apparently transformed into “a monstrous verminous bug” on the first chapter – not to mention that it was the first line. My consciousness never allowed me to go to sleep without thinking about Gregor.

Because Gregor discovered his “new form of body” in his bed, I’m afraid to discover my “new form of body” in my bed. Although I’m a huge fan of biology, and I’m fond of nature, I cannot stand bugs. I’m innately born to despise them. So this “genetic” trait (I firmly believe that it is in my genes (hate-bug-gene) because my brother hates them more than I do) would make my life very difficult to a degree where I might kill myself at the first sight of my “new limbs.” All the complex organs – which I will constantly refuse to see– will change my appetite, and hence I will lose my only comfort. Food gives human comfort and joy, except for anorexic patients as far as I know. Also, if I am unable to go to school, talk to my parents, and even talk a short walk around my house vicinity, I will most definitely go insane.

Insanity? Would that be it my metamorphosis? If I think of the situation more seriously, I will find myself completely lost. I will lose everything – the reasons why I live. In short, I will be disabled. Disabled to work, disabled to eat, disabled to sleep – and hence I will be disabled to live. Working prevents an individual from excruciating boredom, and eating keeps one physically alive. Sleeping is necessary to recharge energy. If I lose all my privileges as a human being or just an organism, I will not be able to survive for long. Now that I take his situation to heart, I feel sorry for Gregor Samsa, the one who had to experience the unwarned metamorphosis.

* This is a film version of The Metamorphosis. Although Gregor is not physically transformed, I think this clip depicts major themes, and the general tone very articulately.