Frank Kafka is considered one of the most influential writers of all time. Helmut Richter would agree with this statement. Richter agreed that Kafka was a very prominent figure in world literature and was amazed by his mechanics and word usage. I feel that his essay is supportive of Kafka’s writing, but also leaves out many important details in its brevity. Richter did not include Kafka’s flaws and tendencies in his essay.
Helmut Richter analyzed the plot of The Metamorphosis in his essay. He depicts the main plot of the story to be Gregor’s failure at his work, which leads to his death. The climax of the story starts off early in the book. When Gregor wakes up one morning, he realizes that he has turned into a giant insect. Gregor was a salesman and his job required that he was very determined in his work. Kafka proves to us that Gregor did not do a good job as a salesman by transforming into a bug: a strong work force.
Kafka’s use of this metaphor stresses the poor work that Gregor does as a salesman.
Many people would argue that Kafka reflects his personal life in The Metamorphosis. These people would describe it as an autobiographical work. Kafka’s parents were very similar to that of Gregor. He was born into a wealthy family and his father was an overbearing man. His mother was a very nice woman, as Gregor’s was in the novel, but she often took the side of his father.
The striking resemblance of the families is that of Gregor’s sister. Kafka’s sister, like Gregor’s sister Grete, was the only person in his family that was supportive of him and that he was close to. Helmut Richter admired the self-depiction that Kafka included in The Metamorhosis.
Richter discusses the main theme of The Metamorhosis as change. He feels that Gregor’s entire family, not just Gregor, undergo a metamorphosis. When Gregor turns into an insect, the life of everyone in his family is deeply changed.
Gregor’s family often takes the work that he does for them for granted. Gregor’s father found himself in some trouble with his business and Gregor was forced to help support the family. The unappreciative, lazy family is greatly changed when Gregor undergoes his metamorphosis in the climax of the story. Gregor’s family soon realizes that they all of their lives will be much harder with Gregor as an insect.
The most obvious metamorphosis is that of Gregor. Throughout his entire life, Gregor has let other people make his decisions for him.
The physical metamorphosis that he undergoes is the first occurrence in his life that no one in his family has told him what to do. This change allows Gregor to find his inner self and disconnect himself from the orders and hardships brought out by his family. By means of his transformation into a giant insect, Gregor has been released from his responsibility to support his family without having to assume the guilt of letting them down. He has also changed from the provider to the dependent. Richter brings up the point that the transformation of Gregor was not necessarily a bad one.
Another theme that is displayed throughout The Metamorphosis is that of liberation.
Both Gregor and his family are set free of some burden during the metamorphosis. Richter believed that Gregor’s metamorphosis released him from a workingman back into a young boy. Gregor was a prisoner to his insect form after the metamorphosis, but he was freed from the burdens of his life and the burdens placed upon him by his family. Most importantly, the metamorphosis relieved Gregor from having to make a choice between his responsibility to his parents and his desire to be a free decision making boy.
I feel that Richter left out a lot of detail in his essay. He did not touch upon a deep character analysis and their relationships with Gregor.
Many events that occurred in the story were based upon the relationships Gregor had with all of his family members. Gregor’s actions in the novel were not explained well enough in Richter’s essay. Although his main focus was the plot, Richter did not bring many subject .