Franz Kafka was a brilliant asshat.*
I’ve steered clear of the novel even though it was a required reading because I’ve heard the horror story: here was a man suddenly transformed into a bug. A big fat ugly bug. Nobody even knew what kind of bug because he didn’t specifically say. Apart from Orwell’s 1984, this was the most horrifying non-horror story I read.
Yes, I ended up reading the novel anyway, but it was for one of my grad classes that I did it. I thought I’d be able to handle it by then, but I barely did.
I’m not going to go into the existential questions tied with this story because I was just so sad for Gregor Samsa. He was an honest man who didn’t deserve to be inexplicably transformed so hideously. And I suppose that’s when I realized Franz Kafka was a brilliant asshat. He plunges us right into the heart of the conflict but explains nothing, only stating what is. And then he shows us what happens to a family faced with the impossible.
It was scary for me because I didn’t like not knowing how the transformation was possible, how it can be reversed, and how to deal with it in the meantime. Gregor and his family did as best they could given the circumstances, but you can only do so much in a situation like that.
I shudder to think about the situation being made real whether to me or to anybody. Nobody deserves that. And that’s why I called Kafka what I did.
*(Apologies for the word, but that’s the tamest word I know that comes close to what I actually think of Kafka. I love him, and I hate him.)