Edwin Honig The Making of Allegory • “Each character in the story may be taken as a personification of some particular defect, essentially related to G’s instigative needs”-allegory reversed. Personification is usually first and then discovery through this transformation. Here G discovers himself through others, and this new identity of his coming from others’ points of views is what causes his metamorphosis. • “Kafka’s Gregor Samsa has already been judged when the story beings”-Gregor has no chance of redemption, his fate is already chosen. It’s as if the climax (the judgment) happened before the story even started. There is no hope for Gregor. • “His dilemma is that he must challenge, grapple with, and seek protection from the judgment that society places on him for deserting his word, and at the same time accept the judgment, the guilt he actually feels, “lying down”.”-Gregor’ fight in this story is not against his metamorphosis but against the vision society and he has of himself for being useless. His conflict is with himself, with his guilt. • “What he becomes to his family and to himself as he lies in bed: simply a huge detestable bug.” “As he is seen by each in turn, there is a cumulative and recapitulative sense which confirms his physical metamorphosis.”-G becomes a horrid bug because it is exactly the way his family sees him. To each he is useless and repulsive like a bug which is why he turns into one. His physical metamorphosis is the image the world has of him. • “and as a result of G’s metamorphosis, his father, formerly a sick useless old man, turns into a vigorous job-holding bank official”- G helps his father emerge from his useless state of being. • “It is as though the family needed first to have the goad of the boarders’ social disapprobation in order to swallow its own distaste and personal chagrin, before finally expressing its own real feelings overtly.”-Almost like the family needed a reason to resent G. They were looking for an outside perspective because they didn’t know if because they were family they were being biased about the situation. The lodgers’ disapproval is the last straw for the family. • “This exposure of an exaggerated debasement gradually provokes a series of reactions among successive characters, who thereby assist in dramatizing the hero’s identity.”-dramatic effect of story not caused by the actually situation but by the reactions of his loved ones. If the family had supported and accepted G as a bug the story would say to love each other no matter what. His transformation wouldn’t have been tragic like it is. • “G’s situation is a limbo where the forces of appositional entities-dark/light, animal/human, lust/love, seeming/being, despair/faith”- G is torn by many different things. Shows how he’s in between and cannot make up his mind. • “The distorted relationship between himself and others, which he has permitted or encouraged to grow”-suggest G’s alienation is his own fault. • “Final criticism seems not to be leveled against society so much as against G, who sinks into his dilemma because he is unable to find his real self.”-author points out G’s downfall is his own fault. The criticism of the story is that G did not find himself. • “Instead of finding his many actual identities, he shrinks and is finally converted into nothingness.”- G epiphany is also his downfall. Because he decides to show himself he becomes nothing. • “no moral closure” “Ends with stark critical question of the individual and society”-very negative end. Kafka is trying to make us think….or realize something about the world we live in? Max Bense Kafka’s conception of being Max Bense (1910-1990) • Max Bense was a German philosopher who studied mathematics, logic and aesthetics. • He was a professor of the philosophy of technology, scientific theory, and mathematical logic at the Technical University of Stuttgart. • Many of his works such as “aesthetic Information”, “Aesthetica, an Introduction to New Aesthetics” involved the theme of aesthetics. The Classical Conception of Being (page 140-141) “In the classical conception of being the fiction of a distinctive world which represents itself as a real world is constantly maintained and at best aesthetically and ethically varied between being and seeming, perfection and imperfection.” The Non-classical conception of Being • “On the other hand, the fiction of the distinctive world is either given up from the start or successively destroyed.” • What is called surrealism […] comes under the non-classical conception of being, in which the fiction of the distinctive, real world no longer exists.” How It Relates to Kafka’s writings “It is certain that essential parts of Kafka’s writings also belong to Surrealism and constitute surreality in the sense of a world in which the distinction between real and unreal constituents no longer has any ontological meaning.” The Metamorphosis “And accordingly the obervable, real accuracy of the unreal found in Kafka’ or his percision with the imaginary […] does not signify an odd state of affairs: rational precision in the unreal is not itself anything unreal, as it is confirmed by the impression awoken for example by “the metamorphosis” of Gregor Samsa into a “monstrous vermin”.