Our Metamorphosis: Kafka Would Never Have Written this Bug

Angela Kaufman
3 min readMar 14, 2020

It’s too bad Kafka isn’t god.

Change is inevitable, but Kafka understood the best change is the one you wake up on the other side of. Imagine if Gregor Samsa’s overnight transformation from man to dung beetle had been foreshadowed. If Samsa had gotten a memo, an intuitive blip on the radar or had some foreknowledge of his coming transition.

He would have spent days or weeks in anxious anticipation.

He would have run out and bought toilet paper. Lots of toilet paper. Only to come home and realize that a dung beetle has absolutely no use for this commodity. That it is antithetical to the essence of dung beetleness to collect dung on a strip of paper. What good could that possibly do?

He didn’t stay up pacing, wondering about what life would look like from the view on the floor once his change was completed. He didn’t sweat over the potential plunge in stock values on fears that dung beetle shapeshifting epidemic may be contagious.

Sure, the story doesn’t end well for Gregor, but if life has to become completely and irrevocably out of control, if there must come a point at which any hope of maintaining life as a familiar set of circumstances becomes completely futile, best to simply wake into new profound circumstances rather than to see the shape of things to come in clouds on the horizon.

Reading Metamorphosis, it struck me how easily Gregor accepted waking in the body of an insect. Precious little time to analyze or mourn. It just suddenly was.

If only such change and all its encompassing fears, despair, anger and indignation could be packed into a novella. Tidily encapsulated in a chapter. Waking to a world that is the same but a body that is different.

I did not transform into a bug, but I did gain consciousness, barely, on the side of a street, with a new and forever altered body. The easy part was being run over. The hard part was adjusting to everything that came after. Ten years later, the body changes again. This time not in one line, not in one chapter, but in a cheap serial, written so poorly that no one has bothered to include the cause, diagnosis or recommendations and here its been ten months of this tired story.

Angela Kaufman

Angela Kaufman is the author of Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down. Her new novel Quiet Man, is available now through Trash Panda Press.