Publication details [#9551]

Ryan, Simon Collis. 2007. Franz Kafka's 'Die Verwandlung': Transformation, Metaphor, and the Perils of Assimiliation. 18 pp. URL
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Article in journal
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Kafka's 'Die Verwandlung' is the story of a son whose transformation into a repulsive, inhuman, and steadily weakening body marks his banishment from society and from the family he loves. In the course of the narrative Gregor Samsa follows an increasingly inevitable path towards extinction, a death that this unlucky son himself eventually agrees has become necessary. Further, it is the story of a son whose language has become incomprehensible. As this article will argue, Gregor's voice, now an unintelligible squeak, is like Kafka's Jewish voice, both heard and overheard in critical readings and finally ignored because the new code in which it is embedded ultimately falls on deaf ears. Since 1912 Kafka's story has wandered a long way from its original home in a Czech-Jewish minority culture. It appeared at a time when the younger generation, many of whose parents had migrated to the city from the country, was widely subordinated to their parents' desire to assimilate into a new cultural environment. (Simon Collis Ryan)