Mind you, I'm not so sure that The Messiah is quite as thoughtful as Kafka, but that's splitting vermin.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Kafka's search for lost time
One hundred years after Franz Kafka penned his seminal work, "The Metamorphosis," about literature's most famous insect, his preoccupation with the elusiveness of time still resonates.
Everyone knows that Franz Kafka's masterwork, "The Metamorphosis," is about a guy who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a "monstrous vermin." It's one of the most famous tales of the 20th century, firmly entrenched in the canon of the classics.
But while that may be the primary plot point, this story, like many of Kafka's stories, is largely about time: its many faces and characteristics and the various roles it plays in our lives. For Kafka, time traps us and oppresses us and we chase it in return – mostly unsuccessfully.
Kafka wrote "The Metamorphosis" in the fall of 1912, a pivotal year in which he also wrote "The Judgment" and his unfinished novel "Amerika," also known as "The Man Who Disappeared." So what better time to revisit these themes than at the hundred-year mark of their conception? ("The Metamorphosis" wasn't actually published until 1915.)
Time is measured in the story from the beginning, as indicated by an alarm clock next to the bed of Gregor Samsa (our protagonist and unknowing vermin). The prominence of the clock cues us into the way time shapes and divides our lives and indeed our civilization – think of how we cut up epochs based on B.C.E. and C.E. – and also how time makes its mark on our bodies through age or, in Gregor's case, through his peculiar transformation.