How does Kafka illustrate the contemporaries/the time period in The Metamorphosis?Use either to answer the contemporaries or the time period please:)

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sboeman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hi Daisyrock,

I'm not exactly sure what your question is asking, but I am familiar with the text and teach it to my eleventh grade classes.  Are you asking about, perhaps, the time period in which it was written?  I'll try to elaborate on that, since that what I think you're asking about.

Prior to Kafka, much, if not all, of the literature written was more-or-less just social commentary-authors and narrators would talk for pages on simple, judgmental observations on others with little regard for what truly motivated characters and their actions.

Kafka can be considered a modernist author, which was a trend in literature that began to focus much more on characters' thoughts and feelings; hence, we get the lengthy narrative struggles of Gregor doing such remedial things as trying to eat, flip over, etc.  In other words, the focus was more on the thoughts rather than just having someone comment on general observations.

He also focused much on the "anti-hero", or the underdog, who rarely wins, such as Gregor.  There is actually a term known as "kafkaesque" that refers to an odd event with lasting implications in literature.

Hope this helps.  I've also included a couple links below to perhaps elaborate further.

Read the study guide:
The Metamorphosis

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