Could The Metamorphosis be considered a parable?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A parable is a relatively short fictional story that is used to illustrate a moral point or teach a lesson of some sort. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka could certainly be considered a parable. Parables are short; The Metamorphosis is a relatively short novella that has 3 sections.

Parables are...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

A parable is a relatively short fictional story that is used to illustrate a moral point or teach a lesson of some sort. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka could certainly be considered a parable. Parables are short; The Metamorphosis is a relatively short novella that has 3 sections.

Parables are almost always fictional; Kafka's story of the protagonist, Gregor Samsa, waking up one morning to find that he has transformed into an insect is definitely not true and, therefore, fictional.

The main characteristic of a parable, however, is that it teaches a lesson or illustrates a moral. Based on the text of the story, there are many lessons that can be taken from The Metamorphosis. One example of a lesson or theme that can be taken from the whole of The Metamorphosis is the following: be good to others but take care of yourself. Until his transformation into an insect, we are told, Gregor had always worked hard to take care of his family and to please his employer. While his sister and parents did not work, Gregor struggled to work hard so that he could pay all the household bills and repay his parents' debts. He never took the time to do what he enjoyed or to take care of himself. Gregor expresses regret throughout the story for not having taken better care of himself. This fact was boldly illustrated by the fact that he ended up turning into a bug; after this transformation, his family did not take good care of him and he ended up dying.

If Gregor had not allowed his family and employers to figuratively walk all over him, as people do to bugs, and had cared better for himself, he would not have died as a lowly insect. Even if Gregor had not made the transformation into an insect, the importance of people assertively caring for themselves and doing what they enjoy is emphasized throughout the story. Because it meets all the characteristics described, The Metamorphosis can be considered a parable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team