“As Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” (Kafka, 89) This is how Kafka begins his short story “The Metamorphosis”. Kafka allows the reader to experience the same sudden, though ghastly, realization of the metamorphosis. The sentence begins with the mundane and ends with the bizarre. The first part “As Gregor Samsa woke up one morning” seems perfectly normal. This could be any story and it could be any person waking up any given morning. This is followed by: “from uneasy dreams.” The reader begins to wonder now about these dreams. Were they nightmares? What did Gregor Samsa dream about? Why is he having uneasy dreams? Then next part continues with “He found himself changed in his bed.” Now the reader begins to become suspicious as suspense builds even within the sentence. There is tension now in the words. The reader has seen a perfectly common Gregor Samsa go from casual sleeper waking to a somewhat troubled individual to now a subject of a transformation. The reader now is perhaps even hesitant to read on, afraid of what he might find. The sentence ends with “into a monstrous vermin.” Finally, the building tension transforms to bewilderment.
Immediately thrust into what seems to be the middle of a story, the reader immediately asks the questions: who and why. Who is this Gregor Samsa? Why is he a vermin? The reader subtly has the answers to what, when, and where. What is Gregor Samsa? He’s now a vermin, an undesirable unclean animal. The when must be: while he slept. And the where must be: in his bed. Yet even though some questions are answered implied in the text, overall the reader does not know much about this Gregor, but is rather forced to accept the fact that he is now a vermin. Kafka leads the reader in the very same path that Gregor experiences, allowing the reader to become involved in the narrative even though the reader seems to be a mere witness to…