Franz kafka – metamorphosis

Metamorphosis

I

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found
Himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on
His armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could
See his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff
Sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready
To slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared
With the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he
Looked.

“What’s happened to me?” he thought. It wasn’t a dream. His room,
A proper human room although a little too small, lay peacefully
Between its four familiar walls. A collection of textile samples
Lay spread out on the table – Samsa was a travelling salesman – and
Above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of an
Illustrated magazine and housed in a nice, gilded frame.

It showed
A lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright,
Raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm
Towards the viewer.

Gregor then turned to look out the window at the dull weather.
Drops of rain could be heard hitting the pane, which made him feel
Quite sad. “How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all
This nonsense”, he thought, but that was something he was unable to
Do because he was used to sleeping on his right, and in his present
State couldn’t get into that position. However hard he threw
Himself onto his right, he always rolled back to where he was. He
Must have tried it a hundred times, shut his eyes so that he
Wouldn’t have to look at the floundering legs, and only stopped when
He began to feel a mild, dull pain there that he had never felt
Before.

“Oh, God”, he thought, “what a strenuous career it is that I’ve
Chosen! Travelling day in and day out. Doing business like this
Takes much more effort than doing your own business at home, and on
Top of that there’s the curse of travelling, worries about making
Train connections, bad and irregular food, contact with different
People all the time so that you can never get to know anyone or
Become friendly with them. It can all go to Hell!” He felt a
Slight itch up on his belly; pushed himself slowly up on his back
Towards the headboard so that he could lift his head better; found
Where the itch was, and saw that it was covered with lots of little
White spots which he didn’t know what to make of; and when he tried
To feel the place with one of his legs he drew it quickly back
Because as soon as he touched it he was overcome by a cold shudder.

He slid back into his former position. “Getting up early all the
Time”, he thought, “it makes you stupid. You’ve got to get enough
Sleep. Other travelling salesmen live a life of luxury. For
Instance, whenever I go back to the guest house during the morning
To copy out the contract, these gentlemen are always still sitting
There eating their breakfasts. I ought to just try that with my
Boss; I’d get kicked out on the spot. But who knows, maybe that
Would be the best thing for me. If I didn’t have my parents to
Think about I’d have given in my notice a long time ago, I’d have
Gone up to the boss and told him just what I think, tell him
Everything I would, let him know just what I feel. He’d fall right
Off his desk! And it’s a funny sort of business to be sitting up
There at your desk, talking down at your subordinates from up there,
Especially when you have to go right up close because the boss is
Hard of hearing.



Franz kafka – metamorphosis