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This article examines the short story Metamorphosis by the enigmatic Czech writer Franz Kafka, whose work has been the subject of extensive critical discussion. His writings have been seen in the context of existentialism, Jewish mysticism and as a warning of the advent of totalitarianism. Kafka has attracted the attention of psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, who have maintained that his life and work manifest evidence of unresolved Oedipal issues and of schizoid personality. Metamorphosis is open to a multitude of interpretations, but a potentially fruitful approach is to see parallels between the predicament of the story's main character, Gregor Samsa, and that of people with severe mental illness. The story highlights the fate of those who are judged to be different by society and how issues of alienation, impaired communication and rejection arise.
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