Well, (i think) this post is gonna be much shorter and easier to write. Firstly, I don’t tend to re-read my books. I only do so when it’s imperative – which basically limits it to what was examinable for my Literature subjects/modules. Secondly, I’m not as excited about today’s book as I was with yesterday’s 30DBC . Nonetheless, here goes!
For some reason, there’s only a few basic classic that teachers always utilise for Literature classes (from high school to university). So, for my entire life, there’s this one book I had to “closely analyse” for at least 3-4 classes. The unforgettable book I read umpteen times – in the library, at home, in the cafeteria, in the bus stop – is Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.
(Image Source: Your Move Dickens)
Basically, the story is that Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, woke up realising his been transformed into “a large, monstrous insect-like creature.” So, on one hand, Gregor attempts to cater to his new condition. Apparently, his family largely depends on him and he hates being a burden. On the other hand, his parents and sister are repulsed by the creature Gregor has become.
After all the literature classes, there’s a million imageries, interpretations and quote references in my mind. But, for all those, please just pay attention in class. Instead, I’d like to share my 2 raw unadulterated opinion (or, at least, what I can still recall) which struck me long and hard the very first time I read The Metamorphosis.
Firstly, Gregor has the most compassionate ideals and perspective. For a cockroach/beetle, he was the most humane character in the story. He continued to be so caring and considerate about his family despite being turned into a repulsive insect. Imagine. His first thought as a cockroach/beetle was how to get off the bed and go to work and earn money. He didn’t even stop to wonder why or how he turned into an insect! Plus, Gregor tried so hard to get back on his feet, comprehend and overcome his situation to provide for his family and ease their worries. He was so pitiful when his attempts to help or show kindness were misinterpreted and rejected by his own family members – the ones he
mistakably loves so dearly.
Secondly, his family is so disgustingly ungrateful. For someone who can’t find their own son/brother, they were so nonchalant and unconcerned. Instead, they were mostly worried about their reputation and financial woes as opposed to curing him. They even isolated Gregor in his room, threw apples at him, and treated him like a repulsive insect. Ironically, the family were more monstrous and detestable than Gregor will ever be. In fact, Grete, his beloved sister, decided that they can shift houses and leave Gregor on his own. What?!
On a separate note, I remember my roommate and I (both taking Lit modules at the time) naming every cockroach in our dormitory as Gregor. We’ll go, “Gregor is in the third shower stall. Don’t use that.” or “Don’t step on Gregor! Just whisk him out of the room!” It was soooo hilarious!
Oh dear Gregor, wherever you are, may you rest in peace (not in pieces)…
“He thought back on his family with deep emotion and love. His conviction that he would have to disappear was, if possible, even firmer than his sister’s. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful reflection until the tower clock struck three in the morning. He still saw that outside the window everything was beginning to grow light. Then, without his consent, his head sank down to the floor, and from his nostrils streamed his last weak breath.”
Cumuloquoise, my Literature-major-turned-teacher friend, can finish at least one book a day and has a habit of rereading her favourites. So, I’m excited to see which one she’s going to choose for today’s 30 Day Book Challenge. Do check her blog site out too!