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What is Metamorphosis? Metamorphosis is a novella written in 1912 by Franz Kafka. Novella: Longer, more complex than short stories Focuses on a limited.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Metamorphosis? Metamorphosis is a novella written in 1912 by Franz Kafka. Novella: Longer, more complex than short stories Focuses on a limited."— Presentation transcript:


2 What is Metamorphosis? Metamorphosis is a novella written in 1912 by Franz Kafka. Novella: Longer, more complex than short stories Focuses on a limited number of characters and events

3 What is Metamorphosis? Definition:
a transformation, as if by magic or sorcery Marked change in appearance (usually used in Biology describing the transformation of insects)

4 Who is Franz Kafka? Born in Prague in 1883 (in Modern)
The oldest of 9 children. Jewish parents Father was a successful merchant but overbearing.

5 Sad Kafka… Described as having been sensitive and suffering from feelings of isolation. Jewish, but felt unconnected to his religion Minority in his country Unsuccessful in personal relationships Physically weak, attempts to hide it

6 Kafkaesque Anything having to do with alienation, absurdity, anxiety or isolation (Themes that came to characterize Kafka’s life and works)

7 Being Jewish in Prague during 1880-1920
Prague called “The City of Three Peoples”. Ethnic Czechs (spoke Czech) 6% German speakers 5% Jews, some spoke German or both Kafka was a minority because he was a German speaking Jew. He also didn’t readily accept the teachings of Judaism.

8 Anti-Semitism Surrounded Prague
When he was 16, a Christian girl was found murdered in Prague. Many said that her throat was cut by Jews, then they used the blood to make food during Passover. Created riots! As a result, Jews were harassed, shops were destroyed

9 Kafka’s father! Was hard on Kafka.
Kafka developed lifelong guilt, anxiety and lacked self confidence. Felt he could never live up to his father’s standards. Lived with his parents after graduating from college Turned anger and anxiety inward by isolating himself from family

10 Difficulty writing Kafka found it difficult to write because:
Family tensions (Father told him he was never good enough) Parent’s getting older/ill Self doubts (felt ugly, stupid, etc) Would write, then destroy work, then write again

11 Kafka’s writing Features bizarre situations
Characters that embody the alienation, search for meaning, and despair of modern life.

12 Last Years The last years of Kafka’s life was marked by periods of intense writing activity, family tensions, unsuccessful love relationships, and worsening health. Was a hypochondriac, but developed Tuberculosis when he was 35. Died in a rest home at the age of 41.

13 Why are we reading The Metamorphosis?
Ms. Scarle said we have to! Draws readers into the nightmarish world of Gregor Samsa, a young man who undergoes a transformation (turned into a bug-hence, metamorphosis). Many readers connect to his feeling of alienation.

14 The Metamorphosis This text is not easy! It’s puzzling and many scholars have argued for almost a century as to the true meaning. (This is why many people still read and talk about his work-many ways to look at it)

15 Existentialism: definition
A philosophy of thought Emphasizes both the uniqueness of each individual’s experience and his/her isolation in an indifferent universe. Because the events in human existence can not be explained, one has freedom of choice and complete responsibility for his/her actions.




19 Existentialism Back in time, a person’s purpose in life was defined by God or history. For example, if your grandfather was a shoemaker, and your father was a shoemaker, odds are, it was your purpose to be a shoemaker. Everyone had a purpose and God was the driving force.

20 Existentialism Origins
A reaction to of dehumanized many aspects of society (industrialization, rise of bureaucracy) Now, a machine makes shoes. You no longer have a job. What is your purpose? (might feel lost or confused)

21 The existentialism question:
How do you exist in an uncertain and often cruel world, feeling compelled to make some sense or purpose out of one’s existence, only to have all its progress and accomplishments taken away by the equally senseless fact of death?

22 Existentialism Origins cont.
Shifted ideals of right and wrong Focused on the individual (individual has the power to create their own purpose, not pre-existed) Saw the world as hostile/chaotic

23 Existentialism Cont. Question: What keeps people from becoming murderers, thieves, and criminals? Answer: Guilt, fear of law, fear of God’s law But: What if God didn’t exist?

24 Existentialism Because there is no God to answer to or to look to for advice, how would you create your own destiny?

25 Surrealism Definition: is a philosophy that aims trying to interpret the subconscious mind. What do your dreams mean? If you think evil thoughts, are you evil? Do you react to events because your subconscious is trying to tell you something?

26 Kafka, after death Kafka died in a sanatorium, in extreme pain from Tuberculosis. Kafka had given many of his manuscripts to friends with directions to destroy them upon his death. Luckily, his friends saved the majority of his work.

27 Kafka-the Holocaust Kafka was continuously tormented by the cruelness of the world. He died before Hitler came into power, but his family and friends did not escape the Holocaust.

28 Kafka-the Holocaust Since he was Jewish, much of his work was burned by the Gestapo. Many of his friends died in concentration camps. Three of his sisters died in concentration camps.

29 Kafka today His work is read throughout the world.
Best known for describing obscure situations with simple, cold words. Never explained what he meant with ideas and concepts, thus his work is continuously discussed.

30 The Metamorphosis: summary
Salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find himself an insect. Since Gregor’s income supported the Samsa family, his transformation has a huge impact on his parents and sister. The family falls apart as they begin to see Gregor as a hindrance and want him to go away.

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