Kafka’s short story The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung), first published in 1915, is the tale of a man called Gregor who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a beetle. The story then explores how Gregor and his parents deal with this transformation. The Metamorphosis is set in Gregor’s bedroom in his parents’ house, and the door of the room
becomes an important visual metaphor for being trapped.
Research how different illustrators have tackled this story. You’ll find that there’s a limited range of images – the bedroom door, the beetle and the bed. How have illustrators used these elements?
Extend your research to look at film, artists, theatre, TV and other visual representations. Where in the narrative have artists placed the image – before, after or during the transformation? How have illustrators’ choices framed your understanding of what the story is about? Which do you
think is the most successful version?
My favourites: Luis Scafati