Nabokov's Interpretation Of The Metamorphosis

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. .
Gre ...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 philistin...


Interpretation of Kafka's Metamorphosis. - Modern Fiction, Rhodes University - Essay

2082 words - 9 pages technique (Abrams, 167). Postmodernism serves as a continuation of counter-tradition introduced by modernism however it draws inspiration from the impact WW2 had on the human psyche (Abrams, 168). A prevailing aspect of post modernism is literature of the absurd (Abrams, 168). Elements in the metamorphosis which may render this type of interpretation valid are the unreliability of the narrator, the description of time as well as the entire story

Essay On Interpretation Of “The Seafarer”

270 words - 2 pages Free 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

Metamorphosis in lord of the flies - Marist College - Speech

1025 words - 5 pages Good afternoon, students and teachers. Today I will be analysing Lord of the Flies and We are going and how the writer of both of these texts have displayed metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a concept often seen in literature and is used as an idea to stimulate complication in many famous texts. Lord of the Flies and We Are Going are texts that both show how metamorphosis occurs within people when certain situations or circumstances arise. Lord of

Revelations of Kafka in the Metamorphosis - ENC1102 - Research Paper

1032 words - 5 pages Seupaul 1 The Revelations of Kafka’s Life in the Metamorphosis Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis revolves around the transformation of Gregor Samsa from human to insect, and how it affected his life and the lives of those around him. This literary gem showcases a symbolic description of the author’s life through the main protagonist, Gregor Samsa. The Metamorphosis highlights many situations in Gregor’s life that mirror events in the author’s life

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

Factors that influence interpretation of 'The Diary of a Young Girl'- Anne Frank - PLC Year 8 - Essay

916 words - 4 pages The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank Essay What Factors influence your interpretation of the text? ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ was written from 1942-1944 by Anne Frank. The text is engaging due to Anne’s relatable identity and interesting writing style in which she shares her innermost feeling and thoughts. Many factors contribute to each individuals’ interpretation of Anne Frank based upon their identity and relatable perceptions. Age and

The Interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa: One of the most famous painting in the world - Cypress College/ Art history - Research paper

2087 words - 9 pages The Interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa: One of the most famous painting in the world. By end of the 15th century, three outstanding masters Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo dominated the period with their expression of humanist and classical values. More 1 than twenty years older than the great masters Michelangelo and Raphael, Leonardo pioneered the High Renaissance style of balance, serenity, and technical

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

Evaluation of the story of Everyday Use - Georgia State/ English - Interpretation

998 words - 4 pages Free Sammy to lose his job, all the while not getting the girl who he had become infatuated with for what seems to be mere minutes of she and her friends stepping into the store. He does not think things through and makes a hasty decision which in turn, leaves him to become unemployed although his intentions were good natured. He wanted to show in protest, to his manager, that the girls were not inappropriate by dressing indecently in the grocery

Wise Blood Essay Comparing the Truth of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof - Interpretation of Literature - Essay

1760 words - 8 pages Janning 1 What Is Truth In ​Wise Blood​ by Flannery O’Connor and ​Cat On A Hot Tin Roof​ by Tennessee Williams, the characters depict their struggles with the concepts of religion and family through the importance of truth. In ​Wise Blood​, Hazel Motes pushes against the common religion that has been preached to him throughout his entire life. He claims that not only is there no truth behind religion, but that there is no truth at all. Hazel


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

The similarities of Kafka's The Metamorphasis and the expressionist painting The Scream - honors English 12 - essay

500 words - 2 pages are in response to the compliance of the bourgeois and the increasing mechanization and urbanization of society. This overarching theme of conformity, and how modern life can encourage isolation in Munch’s artwork and expressionism in general directly coincides with that of the famous novel The Metamorphosis. The Metamorphosis was written by Franz Kafka a German speaking Czech Jew. In his famous novel, Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and finds

Things Fall Apart and The Metamorphosis - Guilford College English 350 - Final Essay Paper

2240 words - 9 pages Free Cierra Holloway ENG 350 Final Paper 12/12/18 7 Throughout the semester two readings “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe and “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka both share valuable similarities. As each story has different main characters, each character goes through the same development of themselves, which they transform into something they cannot control or take grasps at it. These two stories have different pathways for their main characters

Humanity vs bestiality in Metamorphasis by Franz Kafka - CNU/ MLAN 205 - Hegelian Essay

645 words - 3 pages Free (In)Humanity In The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka portrays the life of Gregor Samsa who unexpectedly woke up as a vermin one morning. The story explores how this impacts his relationship with his family and examines the hardships he has to go through now that he is a bug. It is argued whether Gregor is more human-like or more bestial after he goes through this “metamorphosis” because he still has human thoughts and emotions, even though he is