Malformation and Isolation: Critique to Jewish Orthodoxy Found in Franz Kafka’s "The Metamorphosis"

Anindya Firda Khairunnisa(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


The research discusses the Jewish images found in The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and its interpretation. It aims to prove that the utilization of Jewish images within the novella shows the author’s underlying critique towards Jewish Orthodoxy’ ways of thinking, particularly the way they regard the Holy Scripture. The data used in the research are taken from Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, in the form of words containing plot structure, characters and characterizations (including dialogue and actions), metaphors, symbols, and allusions, which represents a certain Jewish value within Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. The data are then analysed with Freudian Psychoanalysis, supported by external data such as the background of the author and information about Orthodox Judaism. The result of the research concluded that, in The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka demonstrates that in front of the unquestioned and oblivious masses of the divine law human is hopeless; just like Gregor who ends up dying an unjustified death.


Freudian Psychoanalysis; Psychocritique; Jewish Orthodoxy

Full Text:



Bernofsky, Susan. “On Translating Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”.” The New Yorker Online. The New Yorker, 2014. Web. 23 Nov 2015.

Blau, Rabbi Joel. The Defective in Jewish Law and Literature. 1916. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. Print.

Breckman, Warren. "Kafka's Metamorphosis In His Time and In Ours" Penn Reading Project Lecture. University of Pennsylvania, 2000. Web. 13 Jan 2015.

Creamer, Deborah Beth. Disability and Christian Theology: Embodied Limits and Constructive Possibilities. New York: Oxford University Press. 2009. Google Book Search. Web. 11 Nov 2015.

Classon, Sarah B. "Kafka’s Identity Crisis: Examining The Metamorphosis as a Response to Anti-Semitism and Assimilation in Turn-of-the-Century Europe." Master of Liberal Studies Theses Paper 50 (2014). Rollins Scholarship Online. Web. 16 Dec 2015.

Jones, Barry. Childhood Disability in a Multicultural Society. Oxon: Radcliffe Publishing. 2003. Google Book Search. Web. 11 Nov 2015.

Kafka, Franz (1909) “Fellowship.” Translated by Tania and James Stern, from Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories, edited by Nahum N. Glazer. Random House, 1946.Web. 17 April 2016.

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. Trans. Ian Johnston. Planet e-books. Planet E-Book. 1999. Web.14 July 2014.

Loncar-Vujnovic, Mirjana. Psychoanalysis as the Scope of Literary Theory. Izdavachki Center Faculty of Philosophy Online, University of Pristina (2012). Web. 16 Dec 2015.

Marx, Tzvi. Disability in Jewish Law. New York: Routledge. 2003. Taylor & Francis e-Library. Web. 11 Nov 2015.

Quinn, Edward. History in Literature: A Reader's Guide to 20th Century History and the Literature it Inspired. Infobase Publishing, 2009. Google Book Search. Web. 17April 2015.

Schipper, Jeremy. “Disability in the Hebrew Bible.” Teaching the Bible Online. Society of Biblical Literature. 2010. Web. 11 Nov 2015.

Selden, Raman, et al. A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. Fifth Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2005. Print.

Straus, Nina Pelikan. “Transforming Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis"." Signs 14 (1989): 651-667. The University of Chicago Press. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Suchoff, David. Kafka's Jewish Languages: The Hidden Openness of Tradition. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Google Book Search. Web. 16 April 2016.

The Holy Bible, King James Version. Cambridge Edition: 1769; King James Bible Online, 2016. Web. 20 Mar 2016.

Tyson, Louis. Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Second Edition. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Wyatt, C. S. “Existential Primer: Franz Kafka.” Tameri Guide for Writers. Web. 17 Dec. 2009. Web. 16April 2016.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 3509 | views : 2762


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Anindya Firda Khairunnisa

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon Office

English Department
Faculty of Cultural Sciences,
Universitas Gadjah Mada
Soegondo Building, 3rd Floor, Room 306
Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281
Telephone: +62 274 513096

ISSN: 2746-2668 (Online)

Web Analytics View Stats

Creative Commons License
LEXICON is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Lexicon is indexed in


About UsSubmissionIssuePoliciesReview