Metamorphosis Analysis

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Franz Kafka is the poster boy for 20th century alienation and anxiety. He was well known for having a very straightforward and direct approach to how he wrote his stories. A prime example of his style comes from the first line of one of his more famous short stories, The Metamorphosis. “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from unsettling dreams one morning, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” Though he used a direct approach in his writing, he used subtle tricks in his writing to show things. Though The Metamorphosis took place exclusively indoors, Kafka managed to use the Czech climate to represent a number of things. The Czech climate ranges from mild, damp summers to freezing winters, thus the more obvious use of the climate was to represent the passage of time. “Hardly had she entered when she rushed directly to the window without taking the time to close the door—although she was usually so careful to shield everyone from the sight of Gregor's room—tore the window open with hasty hands as if almost suffocating, and stayed there awhile, even when it was bitterly cold, breathing deeply.” Much later in the story, Kafka writes, “Early one morning—a heavy rain, maybe a sign of the coming spring, was pelting the windowpanes—Gregor was so exasperated when the charwoman started up again with her sayings that he turned toward her as if to attack, albeit decrepitly and slowly.” In the context of the story, quite a bit of time has passed between these two passages, from a cold winter to a wet spring. Kafka also used the weather to set the current mood of whatever character the story focused on at the moment. Though slightly clichéd, he used rain in one passage to help explain Gregor’s current depressive state. “Gregor's gaze then shifted to the window,
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