Uncle Smoke’s Ascerbic Literary Review: Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

BLUF: A motherfucker wakes up as a cockroach, his family goes broke and puts their house up on AirBnB. Three assholes show up and create a bunch of tension and eventually are kicked to the curb. The roach dies; the family moves; the girl grows up. The end.

Franz Kafka’s story of a dude’s change from human to bug is about more than physical embodiment. Before turning into a bug, Gregor was the primary bread winner for his family—paying the rent, and pitching in for food and stuff. He was a salesman at one point, taking the money fronted him by his boss and buying all sorts of stuff instead of investing in his career (that shit’s embezzlement, just in case you don’t know). At a minimum, Kafka makes us look at the value we place, as humans, on the importance of money and what it could do to us over the long haul. Plus the motherfucker makes us think about things like responsibility and the importance of connection.

So Gregor wakes up and freaks the hell out. I mean, who wouldn’t? You go to bed as an NCO and all the sudden you wake up a fuckin’ private! Fuckin’ scary, man. Anyway, Gregor starts feeling all sad and shit, but then learns how to climb on walls and hide under couches.

His sister, Grete, gets the courage to come in his room but just enough to drop a plate of food. The bug soon realizes he no longer enjoys the food as much as he enjoyed the company of his family, so he sulks night after night looking on his family from his doorway as they chat it up all laughy and stuff. This starts Gregor’s physical breakdown, shown in his inability to move as nimbly as before; like that old soldier that just can’t do what he used to do.

His family starts to go broke and rents out an extra room in the house. The three guys (like dudes in AIT lookin’ for a hotel party) come in and start running the place. Grete tries to break the tension by playing her violin when the dudes see Gregor in all his grotesqueness and want to kill him. Gregor’s dad, who throughout the story refused to believe what had happened to his son, immediately booted the dudes. Grete, however, cried and suggested the family kill the roach. Everyone agreed.

Now there are times in a platoon where the dirty guy (and every platoon has one) starts stinking the place up and something needs to be done. But that involves a shower, man, not killing the dude!

That same day, the family splits and they are all in high spirits and shit, thinking of what can be. They hop on the trolley, ride a bit and get off. The father and mother see Grete, look at each other and nod in recognition of… what exactly? The happiness, I guess, that makes them all giddy about the future and the possibility of Grete becoming a dependa.
Kafka takes this transformation of man-to-bug as a means for simple knuckleheads to see what happens when money becomes more important than those around. He also uses this change to highlight the fact that paying bills, and staying connected are important life aspects.

You know that question happy people always ask? Are you working to live, or living to work? Gregor was doing neither; relying on the kindness of others. This also speaks on the importance of being productive. So to the guy in the squad that doesn’t wanna pull his weight, or that Specialist that thinks #shamislife, their time is coming. Eventually they will wake up maybe not as cockroaches, but a lesser part of the group that trusted them; the group that brought them in to provide purpose and direction. This separation drains Gregor, and anyone who has ever deployed knows that connection sees us through. Connection to family; connection to friends; connection to the mission.
EXSUM: Don’t fuck your buddy or bite the hand that feeds you or you’ll end up all alone on the battlefield. Or a cockroach.