The Metamorphosis and Chronic Illness…


‘What’s happened to me,’ he thought. It was no dream. His room, a proper room for a human being, only somewhat too small, lay quietly between the four well known walls…

Gregor’s glance then turned to the window. The dreary weather (the rain drops were falling audibly down on the metal window ledge) made him quite melancholy. ‘Why don’t I keep sleeping for a little while longer and forget all this foolishness,’ he thought. But this was entirely impractical, for he was used to sleeping on his right side, and in his present state he couldn’t get himself into this position. No matter how hard he threw himself onto his right side, he always rolled again onto his back. He must have tried it a hundred times, closing his eyes, so that he would not have to see the wriggling legs, and gave up only when he began to feel a light, dull pain in his side which he had never felt before. 

Read The Metamorphosis here.

It’s been ages since I have read Franza Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis.  I think I must have been in high school or college when I first came across this story.  Although I found it interesting, I didn’t connect with it beyond the scope of necessary literary analysis.  Twenty years later, however, I recognize myself within the character of Gregor, i.e. someone trying to adjust to a significant physical and psychological change.  I understand the hostilities that Gregor has to endure because of his change, whether direct or indirect, because I have been on the receiving end of such behaviours.

Making meaning of one’s life is a challenging task in the face of external expectations and dependency. Having a chronic illness that significantly incapacitates me and, as such, makes me reliant upon the good graces of others, I count myself fortunate that I am afforded the time and accommodations to seek my own meaning and reinvention of self.

To my mother and all those who choose to understand, you have my undying gratitude.




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