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

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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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.  


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