Homework Help

Why did Gregor Samsa turn into an insect of all things ?

user profile pic

jaguilarrrr | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:47 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Why did Gregor Samsa turn into an insect of all things ?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 26, 2013 at 3:11 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The way you have formed your question is a large part of the answer: we automatically ascribe a “category” or “taxonomy” to his condition, placing him in a physiological family, called “insecta,” simply because he appears to have an exoskeleton.  This is Kafka’s point:  we humans think in terms of some organized, conscious system designed by a Maker.  But the novel is really a fictive statement of the principles of existentialism (“existence precedes essence”) – we design ourselves by our choices, by our conscious decisions and their consequences.  Had Kafka chosen another family – mammalia, for instance – his point would not be made as strongly, because we, as mammals, would not perceive the “metamorphosis” as so symbolic.  


Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes