the Metamorphosis is depressing

Last week, I decided to read The Metamorphosis because I was thinking about how isolating modern society is, and wanted to see what Kafka had to say about it, since for some reason I was under the impression that he wrote about such a theme in that book (which I first read a long time ago).

So when I read it (you can get it for free online at the link above), I was expecting to be somehow comforted by the fact that he was from a very different time and culture, but was dealing with the same types of things we deal with in the technology-saturated 21st century.

I was wrong: the story was so depressing--the guy turned into an insect-type of creature, and nothing ever turned around from there. There were just details of his condition and the hardship the family endured. Then the guy/insect died, and his family was relieved and went on with their lives. How cynical and dark. I could go ahead and read a bunch of commentary about it, but why should I? I shouldn't have to read analyses on what the symbols and subtexts mean, I should just be able to walk away with something meaningful. That's why I like some sci-fi: we can extract meaning from it without going to a bunch of nerds to help us figure it out.

I don't know why I thought that Kafka wrote about societal isolation. I'm sure the story is about that in a way, but it left me cold--it even made me feel isolated from the story itself, in even a repulsive way. So if it was his intention to express isolation by isolating the reader, he succeeded.

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