“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.” ― Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Franz Kafka on what would have been the writer’s 130th birthday.
The Doodle is a tribute to one of Kafka’s most famous works, the novella The Metamorphosis.
Born on July 3, 1883, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis was published in 1915 and tells the tale of the young Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who awakens one morning to find he’s been mysteriously transformed into a huge insect. While the Google Doodle depicts the main character as a hat- and sunglasses-wearing, briefcase-carrying bug happily returning from work, George actually greatly dislikes his profession and becomes even more miserable once he morphs into an insect that’s loathed and alienated by his frightened family members. The Doodle also includes an apple, which plays a sad part in the story.
While the premise is a wild one, The Metamorphosis is a very engaging story and is one of my favorite pieces of literature. It’s one of those times where you really get inside a character’s head and feel everything he’s feeling. I think having read this tale is one of the main reasons why I won’t kill insects if I don’t have to (we have an insect relocation program in my home).
In 2011, Quirk Classics gave The Metamorphosis a feline twist with their The Meowmorphosis. On July 6, 2013 Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, which contains all of Kafka’s stories, including The Metamorphosis, as well as In the Penal Colony and A Hunger Artist, will be re-released.
Kafka died of tuberculosis June 3, 1924 just a month before his 41st birthday.