This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Nabokov's Interpretation Of The Metamorphosis Essay

1548 words - 7 pages

Mediocrity Surrounding Genius: Nabokov's View on "The Metamorphosis"

"The Metamorphosis," a story by Franz Kafka is about an ordinary traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, who suddenly transforms into a "monstrous vermin." What exactly this vermin is, and why Gregor is suddenly transformed into it is left unclear throughout the story. After Gregor's transformation, the story continues by illustrating the development of the relationship between Gregor and his family until the "vermin" finally dies. Insight and analysis of story provided by the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov suggests that it is Gregor who is a human in a beetle's disguise, while those around him are the vermin. .
Gregor ...view middle of the document...

Nabokov states that "[Gregor] realizes his plight without surprise, with a childish acceptance of it, and at the same time he clings to human memories, human experience" (Nabokov 7). Upon realizing his condition, Gregor does not panic like many people would in such a situation. His main concern is to get to work and continue earning a living for his family. His parents' concern, however, is to get him out of his room and back to work in order to bring more money for them. Nobody cares if he likes or hates his job, if he is sick or is simply too tired to go to work. Gregor is blind to this reality, that he is only being used by his family. An example of this is when Gregor hears his sister crying in the next room, and he asks himself "...what was she crying about? Because he didn't get up and didn't let the manager in, because he was in danger of losing his job, and because the boss would start hounding his parents about the old debts?"(Kafka 808). Nabokov accounts for this reaction because "Gregor is so accustomed to be just an instrument to be used by his family that the question of pity does not arise: he does not even hope that Grete might be sorry for him" (Nabokov 8). Gregor fails to notice that his family has placed him and his health secondary to their greed for more money.
Nabokov explains Gregor's actual metamorphosis in great detail even though Kafka never fully reveals what the "monstrous vermin" is that Gregor has been transformed into. After compiling clues from the story, however, Nabokov suggests that the vermin is a "...brown, convex, dog-sized beetle..." (6), which looks something like this:

This rough sketch helps the reader to visualize the vermin that Gregor has transformed into, while at the same time leaving some of the picture to the imagination. The description of the bug is also explained metaphorically by Nabokov. The pain caused by the way Gregor is treated by his family "... is his beetle itch in human terms. The pathetic urge to find some protection from betrayal, cruelty, and filth is the factor that went to form his carapace..." (Nabokov 5). By relating the physical description of the bug to human terms leads to the assumption that Gregor's transformation was a reflection of how he saw himself.
The family gets accustomed to Gregor's horrendous situation quickly. As Nabokov says, they were at first "under the impression that his condition is some kind of foul but not hopeless illness that may pass with time..." (Nabokov 9). Grete tried to feed him "...a bowl filled with fresh milk, in which small slices of white bread were floating" (Kafka 814) as if this might cure his illness. The family never goes out of their way to seek help for Gregor. Nabokov criticizes the family's reaction, their "... son and brother [is] plunged into a monstrous change that should have sent them scuttling out into the streets for help with shrieks and tears, in wild compassion - but here they are, the three philistines,...

Other Essays On Nabokov's Interpretation Of The Metamorphosis

REFLECTIONS OF KAFKA'S LIFE Essay

464 words - 2 pages The Metamorphosis is said to be one of Kafkas best works of literature. In the Metamorphosis, Kafka directly reflects upon many of the negative aspects of his personal life. The relationship between Gregor and his father is in many ways similar to Franz and his father Herman. The Metamorphosis also shows resemblance to some of Kafka's diary entries that depict him imagining his own death by dozens of elaborated methods.From the moment we meet

Metamorposis- The Real Metamorphosis Involved Only The Family

2235 words - 9 pages Metamorphosis of the Family in Kafka's MetamorphosisIn Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, the nature of Gregor Samsa's realitychanges insignificantly in spite of his drastic physical changes. Gregor'slife before the metamorphosis was limited to working and caring for hisfamily. As a traveling salesman, Gregor worked long, hard hours that leftlittle time to experience "life." He reflects on his life acknowledging the"plague of traveling: the anxieties

Patriarchy In Kafka's Metamorphsis And Asian Cultures

978 words - 4 pages the reckoning of descent and inheritance inthe male line, plays a major part in family life. However, the institution of patriarchy isnot just limited to European cultures. In this essay, we will examine the instances ofpatriarchy in 'The Metamorphosis' and compare it to instances in Japan.In the beginning of 'The Metamorphosis,' we can tell from the way Gregor'sfamily is organized that Gregor is the 'father figure,' in that he is the

The Foil in Kate Chopin's "The Awakening"

439 words - 2 pages the novella, Edna has reached the apex of a wave in her metamorphosis. Henceforth, as Edna returns to the city, she falls hopelessly out of control in her own metaphysical dilemma, passing from a tender mother to a distant wretch. She takes up painting in order to further immerse herself in herself. She becomes divorced from her children and M. Pontellier, becoming less a mother, less a wife or parent, until eventually scarcely a guardian or

"The Metamorphosis" By Franz Kafka

565 words - 3 pages him to literally die of heartbreak and pain, he found out how his family truly felt about him. Gregor is literally left to climb the walls and die in total alienation.Gregor seems to find out that since his metamorphosis he is left out in the cold. He is no longer needed now that he can no longer provide for his family. Despite the love Gregor's mother had for him, the effect on her is terrible whenever she catches sight of him. Gregor's father

Locomotor Behavior Of Sarcophaga Bullata (Flesh Fl

1619 words - 7 pages Locomotor Behavior of Sarcophaga bullata in response to various light stimuli Introduction: The species Sarcophaga bullata (flesh fly) is from the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda and Class Insecta. Flesh flies live all over the world, generally in warm, moist climates. The flesh fly goes through the process of complete metamorphosis that consists of four stages: egg, larva (=maggot), pupa, to adult in about eight days. Through these

"The Metamorphosis" By Kafka As A Social Criticism

1343 words - 6 pages Society often works against itself in one way or another. Inreading Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka one could presume the work tobe a social criticism. Throughout this story Kafka shows howsociety can be split into into different sections, with Gregorrepresenting the working man at the time, and his familyrepresenting all the other kinds of people throughout society.This story shows how Gregor has worked for his family in thepast, and how he

Picasso - Women Of The Street

344 words - 2 pages When I think of abstract art, Pablo Picasso is the first artist to come into mind. Pablo Picasso was an artist who exemplified the Cubism movement in art. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (pg…) is an interesting piece by Picasso. Cubism is represented because cubes and other geometric shapes depict the five women. This in itself makes the work Dionysian, since it is the artists interpretation of the subject matter, and not a real representation

Analysis Of Hamlet's Second Soliloquy And Its Comparison With The Final Soliloquy

2026 words - 9 pages ).From the facts presented above, it can be easily concluded that Hamlet experienced total metamorphosis in his way of judging things and becoming more emotionally stable. Additionally, this evolution is congruent with the Hamlet's growing sense of destiny: Hamlet once and for all decides to avenge his father and had reaches the highest level of his spirituality.The powerful and mysterious theme in Hamlet-Prince of Denmark is conspicuously related

Tolar

264 words - 2 pages United States Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment, gave Jefferson even greater confidence in the document.[36] Jeffersonians favored a strict construction interpretation of federal government powers described in Article I of the Constitution. For example, Jefferson once wrote a letter to Charles Willson Peale explaining that, although a Smithsonian-style national museum would be a wonderful resource, he could not support the use of federal funds to construct and maintain such a project.[37] The 'strict constructionism' of today is a remote descendant of Jefferson's views.

25th Sunday Ordinary Time

1852 words - 8 pages Dominic RussoMr. LaceJunior Theology CP4 May 201425th Sunday of Ordinary TimeAccording to the Pontifical Biblical Commission's Document, The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church:"The historical-critical method is the indispensable method for the scientific study of the meaning of ancient texts. Holy Scripture, inasmuch as it is the "word of God in human language," has been composed by human authors in all its various parts and in all the

Similar Papers

Interpretation Of “The Seafarer” Essay

270 words - 2 pages Interpretation of "The Seafarer" The seafarer referred to in the poem was a man who believed that life itself was a journey. In the first stanzas of the poem, the seafarer talks about how the sea took him up and swept him back and forth in sorrow, fear, and pain. I believe that this is symbolic of how life takes us up. The author of the poem was a believer in fate and thought that he had no control over his life, just as sailors have no control

An Essay Regarding An Aspect Of Jim's Metamorphosis (The Character Of J.G. Ballard's Novel Empire Of The Sun)

440 words - 2 pages , focuses on the story of Jim, an eleven year old British boy who lives with his upper-class family in Shanghai. When he is separated from his family after the Japanese take over Shanghai, he is forced to cope relying solely on himself. Through the interpretation of the novels content, we come to realise J.G. Ballard's message regarding inner journey. Empire of the sun presents one of the many aspects of inner journey, that is, that in times of crisis

Two Prominent Figures Of The Literature As Well As Philosophy : Franz Kafka And Albert Camus Based On "The Metamorphosis" And "The Guest" Respectively

1375 words - 6 pages In this essay, I want to compare and contrast two prominent figures of the literature as well as philosophy : Franz Kafka and Albert Camus based on The Metamorphosis and The Guest respectively. The structure of the paper will be as follows: My analysis will be include both the short summaries in the political and social framework in which the stories were written and the person alities of the authers were formed and this paper will also include

Interpretation Of "The Road Not Taken" By Robert Frost

963 words - 4 pages Choices are never easy- men face multitudes of them in their lifetime. Some decisions to these choices are clear while others are sometimes more difficult to effectuate. The poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost is a first person narrative tale of a monumental moment in the speaker's life- Frost can be considered the speaker. Frost is faced between the choice of a moment and a lifetime manifested in his poem. Walking down a rural road the