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"The Metamorphoses" by Franz Kafka is full of imagery from the first page to the last. The second sentence of the novella reads, "He lay on his armour hard back and saw, as he lifted his head up a little, his brown arched abdomen divided up into rigid bow like sections. From this height the blanket, just about ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place. His numerous legs, pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of his circumference, flickered helplessly before his eyes" (1). This first paragraph provides a graphic image of the displacement and personal disgust of Samsa's own body.
Another early, key visual image that shows us quite a good deal about Gregor's life as a traveling salesman with little time for a life arrives in the second paragraph of the story:
Above the table, on which an unpacked collection of sample cloth goods was spread out (Samsa was a traveling salesman) hung the picture which he had cut out of an illustrated magazine a little while ago and set in a pretty gilt frame. It was a picture of a woman with a fur hat and a fur boa.
Thus we can see, in our mind's eye, a table with the cloths Gregor uses for work spread upon it just under the framed picture. It should strike us that Gregor has apparently purchased the "pretty gilt frame" despite the fact that he has no loved one's picture to put in it. Instead, he places a picture of a richly dressed woman from a magazine inside. We can ascertain, then, even before we are told, that Gregor has no close personal relationships with anyone whose picture he might want to frame. He is detached, romantically and even simply socially, from the world. Then, his work paraphernalia is all spread out in front of it, as if to symbolize the fact that it is his job which prevents Gregor from being able to develop this kind of relationship.
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