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Kafka and Gregor

             Franz Kafka's works read like the biography of his life. A true genius, Kafka used his writings to express his own emotions and attitudes much like other writers do also. However, one novella in particular took an awkward approach to expressing his feelings of alienation. This tale, "The Metamorphosis", tells a story of a man and his separation from human beings but mainly his family.
             Franz Kafka, always an outsider and growing up as a Jew in Prague did not make it any easier. Prague's Jews remained all the more outsiders because they spoke German-the official language of the Hapsburg Empire-in a Czech city, yet neither Germans nor Czechs.(Franz Kafka and Prague) and Moreover, as an "assimilated" non-believer, Kafka remained an outsider even in the Jewish community. Kafka's ambivalent take on authority-his ability to respect it, rebel against it, and blame himself for everything-seems to come primarily from his relationship with his father. Hermann Kafka, a self-made storekeeper, had a big build and an aggressive character, opposed to Franz's smaller body and milder, highly intellectual, personality. Though living very energetic, smooth and charming, Kafka never managed to emerge out of his father's shadow and escape his self-hatred. .
             According to Franz Kafka, his father had psychologically abusive tendencies. He constantly told his son that he would never succeed, and although he allowed Franz to make his own career decision, he never encouraged him to become a writer. He wanted his son to become a shop owner like himself, perhaps an example of how his ego was anxious to extend itself. Franz Kafka said, "My writing was all about you; all I did there, after all, was to bemoan what I could not bemoan upon your breast." (Kafka 87) In his letter to his father, Franz dealt with many issues referred to indirectly in The Metamorphosis. Among other subjects, his fear of marriage, his desire for escape and independence, all disguised as symbols and metaphors.

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