With all the worry they had been having of late her cheeks had become pale, but, while they were talking, Mr. and Mrs. Samsa were struck, almost simultaneously, with the thought of how their daughter was blossoming into a well built and beautiful young lady.
It reminds me of Peter Carey’s The True History of the Kelly Gang, which could be interpreted as much about the way in which history is told as it is about Ned Kelly.
This sense of change reminded me of when my mother passed. I was so focused on her last days that I had overlooked how the world had continued to go on changing around me.
In getting the backyard organised for my daughter’s birthday this morning, it dawned on me that during the last month when the last thing on my list of things to do was cutting things back and nurturing the garden, that the garden didn’t care, it just kept on growing. Whether it be the passionfruit vine stretching out even further along the fence line or the lemon tree growing even taller, the garden had kept on going.
To me this is all a part of something bigger that I have come to realise. Whether it be illness, mourning or even extended holidays, the world around us does not stop.
No English translation disputes that Gregor wakes from troubled dreams to find himself transformed in his bed. But into what, precisely?
The adjective ungeheuren means “huge”, the noun Ungeziefer some form of “creepy-crawly” but also “vermin” – obviously more suggestive of rodents than insects, yet applicable to both, the shared characteristic being pestilent, repugnant qualities.
“Some kind of monstrous vermin” is how it was rendered by the story’s first English translator, AL Lloyd. “A gigantic insect” was the reading of Edwin and Willa Muir. “A monstrous cockroach” is how Michael Hofmann phrased it more recently.