The Metamorphosis Essay, Research Paper
The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, begins the story in the opening lines. The introduction gets the readers attention because of its plot movement and extreme details.
This particular introduction, unlike most other works contains the climax to the story. This paper will show the importance of these introductory lines.
“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed into a monstrous vermin.” This line greatly moves the plot, more so than any other line. It is the climax of the novel, and everything following it helps build the conclusion of the story. The juxtaposition of “unsettling” and “dreams” is ironic, as dreams are peaceful and never unsettling, only nightmares are unsettling. Gregor has transformed into a “monstrous vermin.” The remainder of the first paragraph gives details of exactly what the monstrous vermin is.
His back is as “hard as an armor plate”. This metaphor shows the rigidity of his body. Gregor’s body has “arch shaped, a vaulted brown belly, and many legs.” As a result of this, he does not even know who or what he is. “What’s happened to me?” He knew it was not a dream. Kafka blends a short sentence about the realization that it is no longer a dream into a paragraph of long sentences to show how the idea of being a dream is chimerical.
His room is still a “regular human room.” In his room are lines of fabric samples, because he is a traveling salesman. Gregor had a picture hanging on his desk. It “showed a lady done up in a fur hat and a fur boa.” This picture, and the mention of him being a traveling salesman, show the extravagance of his family, while he is a common worker.
The weather is overcast, a symbol of Gregor’s despair. He looks out the window, in search of answers to his unanswered questions. He could hear the raindrops and was completely depressed. His depression portrays his feeling that he has no control over the future. He even has no control over himself. “In his present state, he could not get into that position. No matter how hard he threw himself onto his right side, he always rocked onto his back again.”
Kafka beautifully incorporates the climax into the introduction of his story in order to deeply involve the reader in the story. This introduction no only serves to introduce characters and reveal the basic plot summary, but it is the main point of action in the story as well.
The opening lines or introduction are always pivotal and vital in the analyzation of a novel. This scene may not always be the most interesting or the most action packed, but the introduction to a novel is key in understanding the reasoning behind the novel. The introduction can also clue you in to characters’, setting, and many other key points in a story. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is no different than any other novel. The introduction of this story not only clue’s the reader in on the rest of the book, the most important part of the story is contained within these first thirty lines, the climax. Kafka begins his story with the climax, so it is easy for the reader to see how the introduction to this story in particular could be quite important.
I particularly enjoyed the first thirty lines of Metamorphosis as I do every other novel in which I have encountered. It contained not only the same details that are pivotal to the story, but the most exciting lines of this novel are the first ones’. After the introduction the rest of the novel begins to fall off in its’ excitement level.
Many metaphors, similes, personifications and symbols are presented by Kafka in these first thirty lines. These literary elements themselves always provide a reader to a novel with much enjoyment and Metamorphosis is no different.
From these opening lines I gathered a sense of how the novel would be structured and the basic ideas that were to be contained in the novel. From the opening lines it was evident that the story was going to be based upon surrealistic actions and characters.
The aforementioned reasons inspired me to give a detailed analysis of this key passage.