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Transcript of The Metamorphosis
Franz Kafka's Biographical Influence
Kafka's Home Life
Kafka, like his character Gregor, was his parents' only son (after his two brothers died in infancy), making him responsible for helping to support them and pay off their debts.
This forced him to become a traveling insurance worker, a similar occupation to Gregor, a traveling salesman.
Kafka also, like Gregor, despised being subjected to living with his parents.
Kafka's Father: Herman Kafka
Kafka's tyrannical father had a very strong influence and forced Kafka to become the financial breadwinner of the house. However, Franz Kafka had dreams of his own and decided to pursue them. He decided to become a writer and an artist and this is shown in the story as he transforms into a bug. As a bug he is useless to the financial situation and is left to die.
Kafka's Living Conditions
Kafka writes that Gregor is cramped in a stressful, emotionally isolated atmosphere that is reminiscent of his own apartment. In the following ways:
There is not much room for him to move around.
He loses his voice with his family because what he says is incomprehensible to his father.
The apple that is stuck in Gregor's back symbolizes how his father has harmed him.
He is poorly taken care of as he represents through the story as his family stops feeding him.
The Right Approach
Kafka intended his work to be used as an autobiography of himself.
Franz Kafka is a hardworking individual who is forced to work as a traveling salesman.
Franz Kafka becomes something that his family finds disturbing and useless.
He is poorly treated by his father. A relationship which is described with: slamming doors, yelling, and hitting.
Did Kafka intend for the story to be read this way?
Yes: "The Metamorphosis" is Kafka's description of his own struggles. He creates Gregor as a reflection of himself, and Gregor's circumstances are comparable to his own.
Although there are psychological, Marxist, and existential aspects to the story, the biographical influence is the most prevalent
Franz Kafka not only intended for the story be read as an autobiography in disguise but he also wanted the story to show his deteriorating condition.
He wanted to show how because he choose his own path, no one in his family wanted anything to do with him and explain how that has deeply emotionally effected him.
"My writing was all about you; all I did there, after all, was to bemoan what I could not bemoan upon your breast. It was an intentionally long, drawn-out leave-taking from you..."
Using an autobiographical perspective to interpret "The Metamorphosis", we view Kafka's writing as a reflection of his life, the conditions in which he grew up, and his condition as a writer.
Autobiographical Perspective continued...
When examining the connections between the author's life and his writing, we analyze symbolic characters, settings, plot, tone, and mood that convey similarities between the two.
Examples of the Autobiographical Approach
-The Kafka Project- "Franz Kafka's Personal Life Reflected in the Metamorphosis" by J. Stephens
-"Kafka's Metamorphosis in His Time andi in Ours" by Warren Breckman
-The Kafka Project "Kafka~Samsa. Reality through Symbolism" by Robbie Batson
Arguments Against the Biographical Perspective
Is it a stretch?
A literal interpretation of the story would