“We must try to get rid of it”: The Grotesque and the Sublime in Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”

By Susan Marie Dodd.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

“We must try to get rid of it,” says Grete Samsa, of her brother the insect. Even as the Gregor-insect dries out and dies, Grete becomes active and seems to represent the Samsas’ hopeful new orientation towards the future. Harold Bloom’s “Map of Misreading” brings us into a close reading of Kafka’s grotesque fable, helping us to see that Kafka’s precise use of literary figures undermines this superficial suggestion of a Romantic conclusion to the Samsas’ crisis: as if the promise of Grete’s “young body” can redeem Gregor’s extreme alienation, and his ultimate disappearance into a no-time beyond language and human community. Kafka parodies faith that interpretive work can overcome the loss and alienation of contemporary life.

Keywords: Franz Kafka, Harold Bloom, Grotesque, Sublime, Alienation

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.157-164. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 555.589KB).

Dr. Susan Marie Dodd

Senior Fellow, Foundation Year Programme, University of King’s College, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


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