The Metamorphosis, Franz Kakfa
1. One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he
2. had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug. He lay on his armour-hard back and saw, as
3. he lifted his head up a little, his brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bow-like sections.
4. ...His numerous legs... flickered helplessly before his eyes.
5. ‘What’s happened to me,’ he thought. It was no dream. His room, a proper room for a human being, only
6. somewhat too small, lay quietly between the four well-known walls. Above the table, on which an
7. unpacked collection of sample cloth goods was spread out (Samsa was a traveling salesman) hung the
8. picture which he had cut out of an illustrated magazine a little while ago and set in a pretty gilt frame.
9. It was a picture of a woman with a fur hat and a fur boa. She sat erect there, lifting up in the direction
10. of the viewer a solid fur muff into which her entire forearm disappeared.
11. Gregor’s glance then turned to the window. The dreary weather (the rain drops were falling audibly
12. down on the metal window ledge) made him quite melancholy. ‘Why don’t I keep sleeping for a little
13. while longer and forget all this foolishness,’ he thought. But this was entirely impractical, for he was
14. used to sleeping on his right side, and in his present state he couldn’t get himself into this position.
15. "O God," he thought, "what a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out on the road. The stresses of
16. trade are much greater than the work going on at head office, and, in addition to that, I have to deal
17. with the problems of traveling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary
18. and constantly changing human relationships which never come from the heart. To hell with it all!"
19. He felt a slight itching on the top of his abdomen. He... found the itchy part, which was entirely covered
20. with small white spots (he did not know what to make of them), and wanted to feel the place with a leg.
21. But he retracted it immediately, for the contact felt like a cold shower all over him.
22. "This getting up early," he thought, "makes a man quite idiotic. A man must have his sleep. ...If I didn’t
23. hold back for my parents’ sake, I would’ve quit ages ago. I would’ve gone to the boss and told him just
24. what I think from the bottom of my heart. ...Anyway, I haven’t completely given up that hope yet.
25. Once I’ve got together the money to pay off the parents’ debt to him—that should take another five or
26. six years—I’ll do it for sure. Then I’ll make the big break. In any case, right now I have to get up. My train
27. leaves at five o’clock."
28. And he looked over at the alarm clock... "Good God," he thought. It was half past six, and the hands
29. were going quietly on... Could the alarm have failed to ring? One saw from the bed that it was
30. properly set for four o’clock. Certainly it had rung... what should he do now? The next train left at
31. seven o’clock. To catch that one, he would have to go in a mad rush. The sample collection wasn’t
32. packed up yet, and he really didn’t feel particularly fresh and active. And even if he caught the train,
33. there was no avoiding a blow up with the boss, because the firm’s errand boy would’ve waited for the
34. five o’clock train and reported the news of his absence long ago. ...Well then, what if he reported in
35. sick? But that would be extremely embarrassing and suspicious, because during his five years' service
36. Gregor hadn’t been sick even once... Apart from a really excessive drowsiness after the long sleep,
37. Gregor in fact felt quite well and even had a really strong appetite.
Kafka, Franz. "The Metamorphosis." 1916. Trans. Ian Johnston. Planet PDF. Malaspina University-College Nanaimo, BC, 1999. Web. 15 August 2016.
The "alarm clock" in line 28 serves as a symbol of