The Metamorphosis In Franz Kristeva's Abject

1436 Words6 Pages
A Monstrous Vermin: (A? The? No article?) Reading of Franz Kafka’s Novella The Metamorphosis Through the Lens of Julia Kristeva’s Abject.
Franz Kafka, a son of an affluent merchant, was born and raised in a Jewish German family in Austria-Hungary. Even though composing (right word?) was Kafka’s “sole desire and sole vocation” (Marill-Albérès and de Boisdeffre 13), the recognition of his legacy came two decades after his death, after the Second World War. Kafka’s fragile health, as well as delicacy of feeling, empathy, and appreciation of aesthetic value, were inherent to all close-of-kin on his mother’s side. His Jewish heritage brought in (Historical Present?) not only autobiographical details to the texts but also instilled a sense of the
…show more content…
The next step is to explain the aversion to the body fluids, rotten food, illnesses, and wounds, appearing in the novella. Lastly, by taking into account Kafka’s biographical aspects, parallels between Gregor’s exclusion and social ostracising of Jews back then can be drawn. Thus, in this essay, I will argue that Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis can be read through the lens of Kristeva’s notion of the abject, which manifests itself on the bodily, familial and socio-cultural levels in the text, as related to the protagonist Gregor Samsa. (<= THESIS…show more content…
Firstly, the abject reveals itself as result of Gregor’s sudden transformation into a monstrous bug at the beginning of the story, as in Kristeva’s theory an assumed border-crossing denotes a transition into the abject state. In The Powers of Horror Kristeva provides a definition of the abject ex-negativo, asserting that the abject is “neither subject nor object” (135), inferring that it is a state which exists in-between and in which the subject is directed towards its boundaries. The sum and substance of the abject is diffuse(d?), since it constitutes a multifaceted mixture of “judgement and affect, condemnation and yarning, of signs and drives” (10). It means that the abject may be found in the text not obviously as something that takes a straightforwardly explicit form, for instance, vomit, but also as something that is incoherent, dubious and transgressive in itself. Kristeva argues that the abject strives towards “the place where meaning collapses” (2). Such an impetus designates a risk of destroying of the boundaries between the subject and the object, the personal and the social, the known and the unknown. In such a manner, the abject not only disturbs our autonomous identity, but also threatens a stable system and order in which we live. Accordingly, The Metamorphosis contains definite elements that may challenge the barriers and limits of Gregor Samsa in an effort to “eject the abject and redraw the boundaries between the human and non-human” (Creed
Open Document