The Metamorphosis- 3 mins
“The insect is not to be drawn! It is not even to be seen from a distance.”
─ Kafka, in a letter to his publisher
Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is a truly remarkable book, that can be read in multiplicity of keys: Freudian (the Oedipus complex, the conflict with the Father), Marxist (the man so allienated by his work that turns into a bug), religious, and so on. It is a 20th century classics and, as such, it deserves its braid.
This story is barely 70 pages long and features few characters, so it is very suitable to be represented unabridged.. The braid is divided into its three chapters, separated by discontinuous lines, so that the different motives of every chapter can be discerned:
The first chapter is marked by the discovery of Gregor’s new condition, his attempts of continuing his life as if nothing had happened and the different reactions of the other characters: sorrowness, pity, rage… In the braid we can observe very well Gregor’s constant attempt to calm everybody (he jumps from speaking with the manager, to her mother and to her father), as well as the confrontation at the end of the chapter, when the father pushes Gregor violently into his room again, hurting him.
The second chapter lasts one and a half braid turns and shows us a family trying to settle down again. Nevertheless, all the events lead again to a violent end, in which the father throws an apple that gets stuck in Gregors’s back and is the beginning of his final decline.
The final chapter is marked by a climate of constant depression, worsened even more by the arrival of the lodgers. Gregor dies at the beginning of the last turn (it is remarkable that no interaction with the father occurs around that moment), and after that the final events in the book (the dismissal of the lodgers, the small trip, the family’s new plans of future) develop without the appearance of Gregor.
A surprising thing about this braid is that it has a similar length to Alice’s, but it gets a lot more intrincate than that. This may be due to Alice depicting a journey, with a clear succession of characters, while virtually all the action of The Metamorphosis takes place in the same house, with all the characters very close to each other, and thus constantly intertwining between them.
The grid doesn't bring many surprises: Gregor is the main character, he interacts the most with the sister and his father (remember that the book is a parallelism with Kafka's life) and the lodgers interact the most with the father.
What is a bit unsettling, though, is the small role that the mother plays in everything. As well as the sister is the main carer of Gregor, the mother is the main pacifier of the Gregor-father relationship, so since the tension between them is so frequent, we would expect her to appear more often.