Kafka, Phoenix Recoveries and Disability

My humanities class freshmen year of college had one of the more basic of reading lists. The majority of it was a carryover from any high school AP English class in anywhere USA. Still there I found myself, re-reading Mr. Franz Kafka on a deadline all the same. At the time I sped through the story as fast as I could in order to jump into some other urgent task I had on my never-ending list of things to do. In light of recent personal struggles though, I have found that I understand the book via a new context that was otherwise out of my realm of consideration during those classroom days that might have made my analytical essay more personally enriching had I known then what I know now. This is what I missed and why out of Kafka's story Metamorphosis.


Kafka being a kindred neurotic type probably had no problem relating to the outcasts of the world. This might be why his work still has meaning despite society being as quickly changing as a sandcastle in a riptide. When Kafka wrote Metamorphosis, the world was in the Second Industrial Revolution, a time in which the working man was prized most on his ability to be like the machine he was competing against in the labor market. How much could an outputter, outdo his outputs? That was all that seemed to matter then, and maybe still even now. The concept of mental health days to this time period is understated when it comes to being a high-level performer in the workforce. I doubt during Kafka's time that it was entertained much either. Worker burnout, long-term disability, and the like were unspoken of. So how did Kafka address this? I'm willing to argue that he did so by villainizing the human suffering of his leading character to show that under the unlikable nature of the infirmed's condition a human who needs care and compassion exists.


This though moves into the question of becoming the bug verse taking care of the bug. It is where I find that the disabled are often infantized by outsiders and their caregivers are ordained as saints. When I was at my worst regarding my heal