Metamorphosis In Plain and Simple English (Digital Download)
When Reality Skews: Dive into Kafka's Vision, Tailored for Today!"

Imagine this: you're a regular businessman, engrossed in the daily grind, only to awaken as a gigantic insect! Kafka thrusts us straight into this surreal premise in "The Metamorphosis." But wait—is the language holding you back from immersing fully into this bizarre narrative? If age-old translations of Kafka have left you perplexed, we've got you covered.

Presenting a revamped rendition of Kafka's masterpiece—a translation crafted meticulously for the contemporary reader. No more grappling with archaic terms or puzzling prose; it's Kafka, streamlined and resonant.

For those who've found Kafka's works daunting, BookCaps simplifies your journey into the depths of this story. Yet, we ensure the essence remains intact—it's a fresh lens to view the same poignant tale.

But if you're a purist at heart, this edition doesn't let you down. Alongside the refreshed version, the timeless original text stands tall, letting readers engage, compare, and appreciate the nuances of both versions. Delve into the perplexing world of Kafka, seamlessly bridging the past and the present.



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Excerpt From Metamorphosis In Plain and Simple English

I One morning, Gregor Samsa woke up from bad dreams to find out that he had been turned, in his own bed, into a giant bug. He lay on his back that was like armor, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, curved a little bit and divided into stiff sections by ridges. The blankets seemed like they were barely able to cover it and could slide off at any moment. His many legs, which were pathetically thin compared to how big the rest of his body was, waved around helplessly as he looked.


"What's happened to me?" he thought. It wasn't a dream. His room, a normal human room even if it was a little too small, lay peacefully surrounded by four familiar walls. A collection of cloth samples were spread out on the table - Samsa was a traveling salesman - and above it was a picture he had recently cut out of a magazine and put in a nice frame decorated with gold paint. The picture showed a lady all decked out in a nice fur hat and fur wrap who stood upright, her whole lower arm hidden from the viewer by her fur wrap.


Gregor then turned to look out the window at the gray and depressing weather. He could hear drops of rain hitting the glass of the window, which made him feel very sad. "Maybe I should sleep a while longer and forget this silliness," he thought, but that was something he couldn't do because he was used to sleeping on his right side, and he couldn't get into that position the way he was now. No matter how hard he threw himself towards the right, he always rolled right to where he started. He must have tried it a hundred times, shutting his eyes so that he wouldn't have to look at the helplessly waving legs, and only stopped when he felt something hurting - not too badly, but in a way he never had felt before.


"Oh, God," he thought, "what am exhausting career I've chosen! Traveling all the time.  Doing business like this takes much more effort than doing your own business at home, and then there's the curse of traveling, worrying about catching trains, bad food that you never can be sure of getting, meeting different people all the time so that you can never get to know anyone well enough to be friends. It can all go to Hell!" He felt a little itch up on his belly; pushed himself slowly up on his back towards the headboard so that he could lift his head better; found where the itch was, and saw that it was covered with lots of little white spots that puzzled him; and when he tried to feel the place with one of his legs he quickly stopped because of how icky it felt.


He slid back into his earlier position. "Getting up early all the time," he thought, "it makes you stupid.  You've got to get enough sleep. Other traveling salesmen have it so much easier.  For example, whenever I go back to the guest house during the morning to make a copy of a new contract, these gentlemen are always still sitting there eating their breakfasts. I should try that with my boss; I'd get kicked out immediately. But who knows, maybe that would be the best thing for me.  If I didn't have my parents to think about I'd have quit a long time ago, I'd have gone up to the boss and told him just what I think, tell him everything I wanted to, let him know exactly what I feel. He'd fall right off his desk! And it's an awkward business to be sitting up there at your desk, talking down at the employees under you from up there, especially when you have to get really close to him because the boss is nearly deaf. Well, there's still some hope; once I've got the money together to pay off my parents' debt to him - another five or six years I guess - that's definitely what I'll do. That's when I'll make the big change. First thing's first, though, I've got to get up; my train leaves at five."


And he looked over at his alarm clock, ticking away on top of his bureau.  "God in Heaven!" he thought. It was six-thirty and the hands were quietly moving forwards - no, it was even later than half past, more like a quarter to seven. Had the alarm clock not gone off?  He could see from the bed that it had been set to ring at four o'clock as it should have been; it certainly must have gone off.  es, but was it possible to quietly sleep through that earth-shattering noise? It was true that he had not slept peacefully, but maybe that had just made his sleep even deeper. What should he do now?  The next train left the station at seven; if he wanted to catch that he would have to rush like crazy, and the collection of samples was still not packed, and he didn't feel at all energetic anyways. And even if he did catch the train his boss would still be angry, since the office assistant would have been there to see the five o'clock train leave; he would have reported Gregor's not being there at the station a long time ago. The office assistant was the boss's man, spineless, and with no sympathy. What about if he called in sick? But that would seem extremely uncharacteristic, because in fifteen years of service Gregor had never once been ill. His boss would certainly come to visit with the doctor from the medical insurance company, tell his parents they had a lazy son, and accept the doctor's recommendation not to make any claim, since the doctor believed that nobody was ever sick but that many were lazy. And what's more, would he have been completely wrong in this case? Gregor did in fact, apart from way too much sleepiness after sleeping for so long, feel all right and even much hungrier than usual.


He was still panicking, thinking about all this and unable to decide whether get out of bed, when the clock struck quarter to seven.  There was a cautious knock at the door near his head. "Gregor," somebody called - it was his mother, "it's a quarter to seven.  Didn't you want to go somewhere?"    


Her voice was so gentle! Gregor was shocked when he heard his own voice answering; it could hardly be recognized as the voice he used to have. As if from deep inside him, there was a painful and uncontrollable squeaking mixed in with it, and the words could be understood at first but then there was an echo which made them confusing, leaving the hearer unsure whether they had heard properly or not.  Gregor wanted to give a full answer and explain everything, but given the situation had to satisfy himself with saying: "Yes, Mother, yes, thank you; I'm getting up now." 


The change in Gregor's voice probably could not be noticed outside through the wooden door, as this explanation satisfied his mother and she walked away. But this short conversation made the other members of the family aware that Gregor was unexpectedly still at home, and soon his father came knocking on one of the side doors, softly, but with his fist.  "Gregor, Gregor," he called, "what's wrong?" And after a little while he called again, more angrily: "Gregor! Gregor!" 


At the other side door his sister begged: "Gregor? Aren't you well?  Do you need anything?"         Gregor answered to both sides: "I'm ready now," trying to remove all the strangeness from his voice by pronouncing his words very carefully and putting long pauses between each individual word.        His father went back to his breakfast, but his sister whispered: "Gregor, open the door, I beg of you." 


Gregor, however, had no intention to open the door, and instead congratulated himself for his careful habit, picked up from his travels, of locking all doors at night even when he was at home. 


The first thing he wanted to do was to get up in peace without anyone bothering him, to get dressed, and most of all to have his breakfast. Only then would he think about what to do next, as he was well aware that he would be able to think well and come to any answers while still lying in bed.  He remembered that he had often felt a little bit of pain in bed, maybe from lying awkwardly, but that had always turned out to be just his imagination and he wondered how his imagination would settle down properly today. He was certain the change in his voice was nothing more than the first sign of a serious cold, which was a common problem for traveling salesmen.


It was a simple matter to get rid of his blankets; he only had to puff himself up a little and they fell off by themselves. But it became difficult after that, especially as he was so unusually wide. He would have used his arms and his hands to push himself up; but instead of them he only had all those little legs constantly moving in different directions, little legs he was unable to control. If he wanted to bend one of them, then that was the first one that would stretch itself out; and if he finally managed to do what he wanted with that leg, all the others went wild and would move around painfully. "This is something that can't be done in bed,"Gregor said to himself, "so don't keep trying to do it."


The first thing he wanted to do was get the lower part of his body out of the bed, but he had never seen this lower part and couldn't imagine what it looked like; it turned out to be so slow that was too hard to move; and finally, completely panicking, when he carelessly shoved himself forwards with all the force he manage, he went the wrong way and banged into one of the bedposts. He learned from the burning pain he felt that the lower part of his body could quite possibly be the most sensitive, at least right now. 


So then he tried to get the top part of his body out of the bed first, carefully turning his head to the side. This he managed quite easily, and despite its wideness and heaviness, most of his body eventually followed slowly in the direction of his head. But when he had finally got his head out of the bed and into the fresh air it occurred to him that if he let himself fall it would be a miracle if his head were not injured, so he got too scared to continue pushing himself forward the same way.  He mustn't knock himself out, no matter what; it would be better to stay in bed than lose consciousness.


It took just as much work to get back to where he had been earlier, but when he lay there sighing, and was now watching his legs as they struggled against each other even harder than before, if that was possible, he could think of no way of making order out of this chaos. He told himself one more time that it was impossible for him to stay in bed and that the wisest thing to do would be to free himself however he could no matter what. At the same time, though, he did not forget to remind himself that thinking calmly was much better than rushing desperately. Other times he was as anxious as this he would look to the window and look out as clearly as he could, but unfortunately, even the other side of the narrow street was wrapped in morning fog, and the view didn't have anything that could cheer him up. "Seven o'clock, already," he said to himself when the clock struck again, "seven o'clock, and there's still a fog like this." And he lay there quietly a for while longer, breathing lightly as if total stillness would bring things back to the way things were supposed to be.


But then he said to himself: "Before it strikes fifteen minutes after seven I'll definitely have to be out of bed. And by then somebody will have come from work to ask what's happened to me, too, since they open up at work before seven o'clock." And so he started swinging the entire length of his body out of the bed all at the same time. If he ended up falling out of bed this way and kept his head raised when it happened, he could probably avoid injuring it. His back seemed to be quite hard, and probably nothing would happen to it when he fell. His main worry was the loud noise he was guaranteed to make, and which even through all the doors would probably cause worry, if not actual shock. But it was something he had to risk.


When Gregor was already sticking halfway out of the bed - the new method was more of a game than a struggle, since all he had to do was rock back and forth - it occurred to him how simple everything would be if somebody came to help him. Two strong people - such as his father and the maid - would have been more than enough; they would only have to push their arms under the dome of his back, peel him away from the bed, bend down with the load, and then be patient and careful as he swung over onto the floor, where, hopefully, the little legs would start working and be useful. Should he really call for help though, not even considering how the doors were all locked? Despite the difficulty he was in, he could not help smiling a bit at the thought.


After a while he had already moved so far off the bed that it would have been hard for him to keep his balance if he rocked too hard. The time was now ten minutes after seven and he would have to make a final decision very soon.  Then the apartment doorbell rang.  "That'll be someone from work," he said to himself, and froze very still, although his little legs only became even more energetic as they danced around. For a moment everything stayed quiet. "They're not opening the door," Gregor said to himself, pointlessly hoping for the impossible. But then of course, the maid's loud steps went to the door as always and opened it. 


Gregor only needed to hear the first few words the visitor spoke and he knew who it was - the chief clerk himself. Why did Gregor have to be the only person unlucky enough to work for a company where they immediately became extremely suspicious even when an employee made a tiny mistake?  Were all employees bums, every one of them, and was there not even one of them who was so faithful and devoted that they would go so insane with that a guilty conscience that he couldn't get out of bed if he didn't spend at least a couple of hours in the morning on company business?  Was it really not enough to let one of the trainees investigate - assuming investigations were even necessary - and did the chief clerk have to come himself, and did they have to show the whole innocent family that this was so suspicious that only the chief clerk could be trusted be wise enough to investigate it?


And more because these thoughts had made him upset than through any actual decision, he swung himself with all his force out of the bed. There was a loud thump, but it wasn't as loud as it could have been. His fall was softened a little by the carpet, and Gregor's back was also stretchier than he had thought, which made the sound muffled and not too obvious.  He had not held his head carefully enough, though, and hit it as he fell; annoyed and in pain, he turned it and rubbed it against the carpet.


"Something's fallen down in there," said the chief clerk in the room on the left.  Gregor tried to imagine whether something in any way like had happened to him today could ever happen to a man like the chief clerk - you had to admit it was possible.  But, almost like a stern reply to this question, the chief clerk's solid footsteps in his well-polished boots could now be heard in the room next to this one. From the room on his right, Gregor's sister whispered to him to let him know: "Gregor, the chief clerk is here. " 


"Yes, I know," said Gregor to himself; but without having the courage to speak loud enough enough for his sister to hear him.


"Gregor", said his father now from the room to his left, "the chief clerk has come over and wants to know why you didn't leave on the early train. We don't know what to say to him. And anyway, he wants to speak to you himself. So please open up this door.  I'm sure he'll be good enough to forgive the messiness of your room." 


Then the chief clerk greeted him, "Good morning, Mr. Samsa." 


"He isn't well", said his mother to the chief clerk, while his father continued to speak through the door.  "He isn't well, please believe me. Why else would Gregor have missed a train?!  The boy only thinks about the business. It nearly upsets me the way he never goes out in the evenings; he's been in town for a week now but stayed home every evening. He sits with us in the kitchen and just reads the paper or studies train schedules. His idea of relaxation is working with his carpentry tools. He's made a little frame, for instance, it only took him two or three evenings, you'll be amazed at how nice it is; it's hanging up in his room; you'll see it as soon as Gregor opens the door. Anyway, I'm glad you're here; we wouldn't have been able to get Gregor to open the door by ourselves; he's so stubborn; and I'm sure he isn't well, he said this morning that he is, but he isn't." 


"I'll be there in a moment", said Gregor slowly and thoughtfully, but without moving so that he would not miss any word of the conversation. 


"Well I can't think of any other way of explaining it, Mrs. Samsa", said the chief clerk, "I hope it's nothing serious.  But on the other hand, I must say that if we people who sell things ever become a little sick then, fortunately or unfortunately depending how you look at it, we simply have to deal with it and work anyway, for the sake of the business." 


"Can the chief clerk come in to see you now then?" asked his father impatiently, knocking at the door again. 


"No," said Gregor.  In the room on his right there was a painful silence; in the room on his left his sister started crying.


So why didn't his sister go and and join the others? She had probably only just gotten up and hadn't even started to get dressed. And why was she crying? Was it because he had not gotten up, and had not let the chief clerk in, because he was in danger of losing his job and if that happened his boss would start again chasing their parents with the same demands as before? There was no need to worry about things like that yet. Gregor was still there and wasn't going to desert his family. For now he just lay there on the carpet, and nobody who knew his current condition would seriously have expected him to let the chief clerk in. It was only a small impoliteness, and a good excuse could easily be found later on, it was not something for which Gregor could be fired immediately. And it seemed to Gregor much more sensible to leave him alone instead of disturbing him with talking and crying. But the others didn't know what was happening; they were worried, and that would excuse their behavior. 

The chief clerk now spoke louder, "Mr. Samsa, what's wrong?  You lock yourself in your room, give us no more than yes or no for an answer. You are causing serious and unnecessary worry to your parents and you fail - and I mention this just by the way - you fail to carry out your business duties in a way that this completely unheard of. I'm speaking here for the sake of your parents and of your boss, and really must demand an immediate explanation. I am shocked, very shocked. I thought I knew you were a calm and sensible person, and now you suddenly are acting very strange. This morning, your  boss did suggest a possible reason for your failure to appear, it's true - it had to do with the money that we recently trusted you with -  but I promised him that could not be the right explanation. But now that I see your ridiculous stubbornness I no longer want to defend you at all.  And also, your position is not all that secure. I had originally planned to say all this to you privately, but since you're wasting my time here for no good reason I don't see why your parents should not know about it. Your sales been very unsatisfactory lately; now I admit that it's not the time of year to do especially good business, and we no that; but there simply is no time of year to do no business at all, Mr. Samsa; we cannot allow there to be."


"But, sir," Gregor replied, alarmed and forgetting everything else in the excitement, "I'll open up soon, in just a moment. I'm a little unwell - some dizziness; I haven't been able to get up. I'm still in bed now. I'm feeling much better, though. I'm just now getting out of bed. Just a moment. Be patient!  t's not quite as easy as I'd thought. I'm quite all right now, though. It's shocking, what can suddenly happen to a person! I was fine last night, my parents know about it maybe even better than I do. I had a small symptom of it last night already. They must have noticed it. I don't know why I didn't let you know at work! But you always think you can get better from an illness without staying at home. Please, don't make my parents suffer! There's no grounds for any of the accusations you're making; nobody's ever said anything to me about any of these things. Maybe you haven't read the most recent contracts I sent in. I'll leave with the eight o'clock train, too, this extra rest has made me stronger. You don't need to wait, sir; I'll be in the office soon after you, and please be kind enough to tell that to the boss and recommend me to him!" 

And these words poured out of Gregor, he hardly knowing what he was saying, he made his way over to the bureau - this was easy, probably because of the practice he had already had in bed - where he now tried to get himself upright. He really did want to open the door, really did want to let them see him and to speak with the chief clerk. The others were being so demanding, and he was curious to learn what they would say when they saw him. If they were shocked then it would no longer be Gregor's problem and he could rest. But if they took everything calmly he would still have no reason to be upset, and if he hurried he really could be at the station by eight o'clock. 


The first few times he tried to climb up on the smooth bureau he just slid down again, but he finally gave himself one last swing and stood there upright; the lower part of his body was in serious pain but he no longer gave any attention to it. Now he let himself fall against the back of a nearby chair and held tightly to the edges of it with his little legs. By now he had also calmed down, and kept quiet so that he could listen to what the chief clerk was saying. 


"Did you understand a word of all that?" the chief clerk asked his parents, "I hope this isn't a joke."


"Oh, God!" called his mother, who was already in tears. "He could be seriously ill and we're making him suffer. Grete! Grete!"


"Mother?" his sister called from the other side.  They shouted at each other across Gregor's room. 


"You'll have to go get the doctor straight away. Gregor is ill. Quick, get the doctor. Did you hear the way Gregor spoke just now?" 


"That was the voice of an animal," said the chief clerk, much more calmly than his mother.           

"Anna! Anna!" his father called into the kitchen through the entrance hall, clapping his hands, "get a locksmith here, now!"  And the two girls, their skirts swishing, immediately ran out through the hall, yanking open the front door of the flat as they went. How had his sister managed to get dressed so quickly? There was no sound of the door banging shut again; they must have left it open the way people often do in homes where something awful has happened. 


Gregor, in contrast, had become much calmer.  So they couldn't understand his words any more, although they seemed clear enough to him, clearer than before - maybe his ears had become used to the sound. They had realized, though, that there was something wrong with him, and were ready to help.  The first reaction to his situation had been confident and wise, and that made him feel better.  He felt that he had been brought back to human society, and from the doctor and the locksmith he expected great things - although he did not really care which was which. Whatever he said next would be the most important, so in order to make his voice as clear as possible, he coughed a little. He was careful not to do this not too loudly since even this might sound different from the way a human coughs and he was no longer sure he could judge this for himself. Meanwhile, it had become very quiet in the next room.  Perhaps his parents were sitting at the table whispering with the chief clerk, or maybe they were all pressed against the door and listening. 


Gregor slowly pushed his way over to the door with the chair. Once he reached the door he let go of the chair and threw himself onto the door, holding himself upright against it using the sticky stuff on the tips of his legs. He rested there a little while to recover from the effort it took and then went about turning the key in the lock with his mouth. He seemed, unfortunately, to have no proper teeth - how was he, then, to take hold of the key? - but the lack of teeth was, of course, made up for with a very strong jaw. By using the jaw he was able to start the key turning, ignoring the fact that he must have been causing some kind of damage. A brown fluid came from his mouth, flowed over the key and dripped onto the floor. 


"Listen", said the chief clerk in the next room, "he's turning the key." 


Gregor was much encouraged by this; but they all should have been calling to him, his father and his mother too: "Well done, Gregor", they should have yelled, "keep going, keep holding onto the lock!"  And with the idea that they were all excitedly following his efforts, he bit on the key with all his strength, paying no attention to the pain he was causing himself. As the key turned around he turned around the lock with it, only holding himself upright with his mouth, and hung onto the key. When he needed to, he sometimes pushed it down again with the whole weight of his body. The clear sound of the lock as it snapped back was Gregor's sign that he could break his concentration, and as he got his breath back he said to himself: "So, I didn't need the locksmith after all". Then he laid his head on the handle of the door to open it completely.


Because he had to open the door in this way, it was already wide open before he could be seen.  He to first slowly turn himself around one of the double doors, and he had to do it very carefully if he didn't want to fall flat on his back before entering the room. He was still busy with this difficult move, unable to pay attention to anything else, when he heard the chief clerk exclaim a loud "Oh!" which sounded like the sighing of the wind. Now he also saw him - he was the closest to the door - with his hand pressed against his open mouth and slowly backing away as if he were being pushed by a steady and invisible force. Gregor's mother, her hair still messy from bed even with the chief clerk being there, looked at his father. Then she unfolded her arms, took two steps forward towards Gregor and sank down onto the floor into her skirts, which spread themselves out around her as her head disappeared into her huddle. His father looked ready to fight, and clenched his hands into fists as if wanting to knock Gregor back into his room. Then he looked uncertainly around the living room, and covered his eyes with his hands and cried so hard that his powerful chest shook.


Gregor did not go into the room, but leaned against the inside of the other door, which was still locked in place. This meant only half of his body could be seen, along with his head above it, which he was leaning over to one side as he peeked out at the others. Meanwhile the day had become much lighter; part of the endless, dark gray building on the other side of the street - which was a hospital - could be seen quite clearly with the plain and regular line of windows interrupting the solid wall. The rain was still falling, now throwing down large drops that hit the ground one at a time. The  clean dishes from breakfast lay on the table; there were so many of them because, for Gregor's father, breakfast was the most important meal of the day. He would stretch it out for several hours as he sat reading a number of different newspapers. On the wall across there was photograph of Gregor when he was a lieutenant in the army, his sword in his hand and a carefree smile on his face as his uniform and posture demanded respect.  The door to the entrance hall was open, and since the front door of the apartment was also open he could see onto the landing and the stairs where they began their way down below. 


"Now, then," said Gregor, fully aware that he was the only one who had stayed calm, "I'll get dressed right away now, pack up my samples and go. Will you please just let me leave? You can see that I'm not stubborn, and I like to do my job. Being a commercial traveler is hard work, but without traveling I couldn't earn my living. So where are you going - into the office? Yes? Will you report everything accurately, then? It's quite possible for someone to be unable to work for a short period of time, but that's just the right time to remember what's been achieved in the past and consider that later on, once the difficulty has been removed, he will certainly work with even more focus. 


"You're very aware that I'm seriously in debt to our employer as well as having to look after my parents and my sister, so that I'm trapped in a difficult situation, but I will work my way out of it again.  Please don't make things any harder for me than they are already and don't take sides against me at the office. I know that nobody likes the travelers.They think we earn a lot of money as well as having an easy time of it. That's just prejudice, but they have no particular reason to think anything else.
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