The Metamorphosis Introduction
by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis book cover
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So you’re going to teach The Metamorphosis. Whether it’s your first or hundredth time, this classic text has been a mainstay of English classrooms for generations for its unusual premise and existential angst. While it has its challenges, teaching this text to your class will be rewarding for you and your students. It will give them unique insight into absurdist literature, familial alienation, and Kafka’s far-reaching legacy. This guide highlights the text's most salient aspects to keep in mind before you begin teaching.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Published: 1915
  • Approximate Word Count: 22,100
  • Author: Franz Kafka
  • Country of Origin: Czech Republic, written in German
  • Genre: Absurdist Fiction
  • Literary Period: Modernism
  • Conflict: Person vs. Person, Person vs. Society
  • Narration: Third-Person
  • Setting: Unknown City, Country, and Year
  • Structure: Prose Novella
  • Tone: Existential, Futile, Surreal

Texts That Go Well With The Metamorphosis

Abahn Sabana David is an abstract, philosophical novel by Marguerite Duras. Characters ponder the utility of suffering against the backdrop of a beautiful country home, violence looming on the horizon. Translated from French, this absurd character drama emphasizes subtext over bluntness, and it is open to many interpretations. 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a novel and series by Douglas Adams. More lighthearted than Kafka but no less thought-provoking, Adams’s first entry in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series opens with its own absurd premise: Earth is about to be demolished in order to build an intergalactic bypass, and Arthur Dent is the only human being who escapes in time. Wry British humor and abundant social commentary take after Kafka’s legacy. 

Kafka on the Shore is a novel by Haruki Murakami. Translated from Japanese,...

(The entire section is 452 words.)