Kafka in CATMA

I’ve been wanting to do more with markup but don’t have the time I would need to do it in XML.  So I heard about CATMA (Computer Aided Text Markup and Analysis) and have been playing around with it.  It allows you to load a text and tag it up according to your own logic.  I picked Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” because I am curious about the way transformation works in the story. The title of the story suggests change in general and Ovid’s poem, in particular.  But Ovid’s poem is filled with marvelous transitions and transformative sexual encounters, all contained within a highly mobile text that leaps from character to character with facility.  In Kafka’s story, on the other hand, the change is painfully singular and ironically (paradoxically? satirically?) a result of societal and personal stagnation. The story’s form, too, is excruciatingly confined (we remain trapped with Samsa in his bedroom for the duration).  But even so, a transformation has occurred, and I am curious about how the words about change that appear in the text might be linked to the way that Samsa’s roach-body gets revealed, in parts, leg by little leg.  So I went through the first section of the story and tagged all word-level instances of change, bodies, and body parts.  I don’t have any conclusions yet, but it was cool to see what my tags revealed in terms of frequency and distribution. (Lots of little legs.)

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