Gregoria awoke one morning from troubled dreams. She found herself changed & imprisoned in her bedroom–without clearly or fully being aware of what charges, folly or crime had placed her in this situation. She found herself home, rejected & alienated by her world–and on administrative leave from the school she had been teaching at for over 3 decades.


“When Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from troubled dreams, he found himself changed into a monstrous cockroach in his bed.” —Kafka (trans. Hofman, 2008)

The contrasting title (above) and quote (above) from this blog article should create an impression in the Kafka Readers’ mind that Gregor’s sudden metamorphosis into a vermin or cockroach in the classic tale of Kafka must be viewed not from the perspective of a critique.

The title and the quote from Kafka’s Metamorphosis need instead to be linked to other stories and other experiences in order to bring the reader into the work as Kafka intended through his usage of crisp and form Prague German. Moreover, the reader must bring to the reading his own experience ad narrations if the read-through is to be most fruitful for his or her own interpretation and consumption.

In short, as the translator Michael Hofman states in his introduction to his effective translations of Kafka: Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Penguin 2008): “In any case, he [Kafka] remains, I hope, an author to read, not someone for experts.

EXPERIENCES GREGOR SAMSA’S the KAFKAESQUE

When Gregoria Samson revisits the tales of Kafka, she cannot help feeling a part of these stories. On the one hand, she feels off-balance, like Kafka’s friend who is in some sort of exile in Russian. On the other hand, Greogroia especially feels part of the life of Gregor in The Metamorphosis.

Like Gregor, she {Gergoria) who is unable to go to work one morning–as if ostracized by the entire world of work, society and family she grew up into.

Gregoria, too, awoke one morning from troubled dreams.

She found herself changed & imprisoned in her bedroom–without clearly or fully being aware of what charges, folly or crime had placed her in this situation. She found herself home, rejected & alienated by her world–and on administrative leave from the school she had been teaching at for over 3 decades.

She knew not why the Gods had transformed her life so.

She had been given a vague notice at the end of school just the-day-before that someone had filed a grievance claim against her but she was not given details.

Gregoria was also left with the impression that a thorough investigation would be undertaken and every scrap of her character and the events of the past days, months and years would be put under a microscope. (Which is funny– in a bad way– because she felt like she was being kicked around or stamped upon as though she was a cockroach or something.)

Gregoria had then been told to leave the building immediately and not to speak to anyone at work or in the entire school district during the investigation.

Gregoria would be called when judgment day would come, but no one had any idea how long she would have to stay home on administrative leaf.

Gregoria was told initially that she could contact the human resources if she had questions, but when she returned to her house, the assistant principal who-had-shown-her-out-the-door-at-her-school, indicated over the phone-line that if Gregoria called anyone in the district other than her, she would be considered even more suspect and seen as the kind of person who seeks to smear the names of others by opposing the administrative leave.

Over night, Gregoria felt herself transformed into some sort of vermin that had been discarded by her colleagues, her workplace and her community. Her family quietly tip-toed around her.

Worse, Gregoria did not know what her judgement day would bring or when it would take place. She did not know how many unknown charges might be thrown at her at the impending meeting or hearing some day.

Gregoria wept when she called the assistant principal from her bedroom at the end of the semester and asked whether she could be permitted to attend the graduation of her niece at a neighboring school’s ceremony.

She was informed that this was a no-go.

Gregoria was prohibited from having anything to do with anyone in the schools of the city. at-all.

She felt like she was being treated like a monster and she knew it was ALL only unfair–not a condition of her doing or will.

On the one hand, Gregoria used her time well and enjoyed her time to think and do some things (like her hobbies) up in her bedroom when her children went off to work. On the other hand, Gregoria cried at the isolation of not being able to go out on graduation day of her niece.

Eventually, Gregoria passed away from the heaviness of being.

Her cockroach-like feet were up in the air. Her family buried her out back and forgot about her existence under Administrative Leave.

If they remembered her at all it was only a passing moment. “What could one write to such a woman, who had obviously run off the rails, a creature one could be sorry for, but could not help?” 

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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