The Metamorphosis

Why do Gregor have "uneasy dreams"?

Uneasy dreams

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Gregor's dreams are uneasy as a result of his responsibility toward his family. He is under great pressure..... thus, his dreams are uneasy.

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.

The first sentence is intended to shock. In Kafka's view, we are all frozen inside and literature should be the axe that smashes the ice. This first sentence-one of the most famous first sentences in modern literature-certainly breaks the ice. Reading it, we know from the start that we cannot anticipate the events of this story; all our normal expectations of literature are instantly stripped away. The most natural response is to try to understand how Gregor Samsa could have been transformed into an insect overnight, but neither an answer nor any hint at one is offered. Again, our attention is focused on Gregor's response to something that has already happened and that we cannot unravel.

This first sentence of the story achieves something else as well. Kafka's goal is not to suspend the laws of nature. He is, of course, not saying that it is possible for a man to be transformed into an insect. The point, rather, is that literature does not need to honor the laws of nature. The story takes this one completely impossible event and develops logically out of it.


The Metamorphosis;