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A Bug's Life,
This review is from: The Metamorphosis (Paperback)
Franz Kafka's novella `The Metamorphosis' deals with themes of familial change and evolution, using the tale of a young man, Gregor, who wakes one day to discover he has been transformed into a man-sized insect. Apart from the obvious social awkwardness this will undoubtedly cause, Gregor now has to contend with extremely limited mobility and communication. Before his dramatic change, Gregor, a travelling salesman, is the main breadwinner in his family, and consequently their financial well-being is now severely jeopardized.
Gregor's family consists of himself, his father, his mother, and his sister Grete. Gregor's predicament leaves the family in dire straits, and all react differently to what has happened. Mostly though, their reactions are less to do with pity or concern for Gregor, and more with selfish worry and annoyance that they now have to work for a living. At one point Gregor's father throws apples at him, one of which lodges in his carapace and causes an infection.
Chiefly, the roles within the family change, as do their attitudes. Fear and revulsion for their family member quickly becomes hatred and then neglect; eventually he is nothing more than a prisoner, and he is soon erased from their minds altogether.
Kafka's story is a study of the human condition, as well as a fine example of Magic Realism. The novella is pretty quick to read, and the memories of Gregor's transformation and the gradual removal of him from his family and society is a disturbing and brutal indictment on humanity.