Fridge / Franz Kafka

Fridge Brilliance
  • I used to have this with Franz Kafka. I couldn't stand his work, because none of it made any sense to me. Then, in college, I came across a book about Kafka's work which casually explained that The Metamorphosis was neither literal nor a metaphor: it was a hallucination that Gregor Samsa was having, caused by a psychotic breakdown, all perfectly according to then-cutting-edge Freudian theory. That perfectly explained * everything* in the story, including the otherwise-inexplicable behavior of his family. — Caliban
    • I have a very different interpretation. The main theme of the story is an existentialist one: Gregor, by failing to stand up for his own desires and living entirely for the sake of other people, was really always a kind of bug. The transformation just makes everyone else see him for who he really is inside. This is why he doesn't seem to mind it himself (he insists on going to work, early on), and why the "happy ending" is when his family sticks up for their needs, and in the process just lets him die. — Black Humor
      • To Caliban: You should really see if you can find the 1987 film of "The Metamorphosis" directed by Jim Goddard and starring Tim Roth. Apparently Roth showed no sign of growing extra legs or antennae, and it creeped the bajeezes out of his family. Your discovery made this version make absolute sense.
  • Most translations of The Metamorphosis describe Gregor as having been transformed into a "giant insect". However, the phrase Kafka uses in the original is ungeheueren Ungeziefer, which has been more recently and more accurately translated as "monstrous vermin". Although the story doesn't skimp on describing how Gregor has really become some kind of insect, the original phrase used to describe what he's become emphasises not the sci-fi aspect of what's happened (Man Becomes Bug!), but the fact that Gregor has become something disgusting and contemptible.