Thursday, January 17, 2013
kafka and his bug
Today I started Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" and was shocked by the few pages I read. The foreword about Kafka seemed so reminiscent of some of the ideas we discussed in relation to both Notes from Underground and Baudelaire's poems. Kafka himself felt the effects of his century, a period that some felt was over secularized and desensitized to the human spirit. He often had feelings of tremendous guilt, isolation and incapacity for love. In the first few pages of Metamorphosis, Gregor seems overly governed by reason, rationality and sense of duty. He hardly reacts to the fact that he's been transformed into a cockroach overnight. Gregor is concerned only because he's missed his early morning train to work. His response is incredible abnormal- it is without essentially any emotion at all. I believe that Kafka has created a character that show cases the effects of 19th century society on the human spirit. Gregor is simply a "cog in the machine", as Underground Man would say. It's quite fitting that he is now a bug; it's almost as if he's transformed into the thing he was all along- something incapable of valid human emotion.