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Daily Prompt: That Stings!

A date thingy? Ah! Calendar

December 2012
A portrait of the Bohemian writer Franz Kafka ...

A portrait of the Bohemian writer Franz Kafka.

Day 19. Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that bit and stung. But I’ve read Franz Kafka’s book Metamorphosis. Well, not actually a book but a short story of 68 pages (which is the amount in the book that I have). For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s about a man named Gregor Samsa, the opening line…

Cover of "The Metamorphosis"

Cover of The Metamorphosis

One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had changed into a monstrous verminous bug…
Okay, you’re more than likely thinking What? I too thought the same thing when I first looked at it. But I persevered to the end. To my surprise, I actually found the story both insightful and moving, as you follow the painful isolated demise of Gregor. To me, I never looked at him as a beetle, but as a somewhat unwarranted burden on his family, who for some reason couldn’t come to terms with his disability and illness. However, that is only my interpretation.

Short Bio.

During the Nazi occupation of the 1930’s, Franz Kafka’s works had the unjustified misfortune of being confined to Jewish bookstores and then consequently burned. Sadly, but also fortunately, he died before witnessing such atrocities. What struck me the most though, was up until the late 1980’s in his home town of Prague, his works were still banned.

I for one am glad to have read some of his work. If you can find the time and inclination, give it a try, it may surprise you.


  1. I remember struggling with Kafka late into the night as a student! Maybe I should revisit him with fresh eyes.

  2. stevebetz says:

    I had the oddest semester in college when I was a sophomore when I had The Metamorphosis assigned in both a lit class and a German class I was taking! I’ve always thought it a fascinating story on so many levels — I think it’s one of those rare ones that says more about the reader through their interpretations than the author.

    • sarahneeve says:

      I only started reading him this year, but I can say I’m glad I did. You’re right though, the reader will discover their own interpretations of what the story means. 🙂

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