Who am I?
I am we; we is who . . .
. . .You are you.
How do you do?
There is one problem in life which plagues us, vexes us, curses us, heckles us . . . It is what?
What is it?
Identity; that is what. It is one thing for you and I to fuss about ourselves and the lack of understanding our peers seem to give us. We cringe at the thought of what others may think. Oh no! you say to yourself. What if they found out I was human after all?
Heaven forbid if they do.
It just wouldn’t do to have pitchforks and torches shaken in your direction. Oh no!
But imagine waking up to find that you were not who you were when you last went to sleep . . . You’ve woken up, transformed into something verminous.
In Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa did just that. He woke up not himself. Who was he? What was it? Who was what? It was like a mid-life crisis of nightmarish proportions.
How could such a horrible fate befall Gregor Samsa? Selfless Gregor Samsa, the travelling representative who had worked especially hard to help his parents out of debt? Thoughtful Gregor Samsa who had wanted to surprise his sister by sending her to the conservatory?
In the bitter end they came to hate him, and I saw for the first time the subtle hints of evil which his family portrayed. Neglect, hypocrisy . . . Perhaps the question was never Gregor Samsa’s identity, but that of his mother, father, and sister. They were not the people he thought he knew.
Did they try to help him? Yes, but then that help gradually dwindled to nothing. In fact, it was their attempt which killed him; they should have let him out, to be free.
The ending of the story is bitter-sweet, no matter how you look at it.
Fate, I believe, would have been kinder to Gregor had he not tried so hard. He could have had a life . . .