Degree Level




First Advisor

Doty, Benjamin



LCSH subject

Horror tales, Czech; Kafka, Franz, -- 1883-1924; Alienation (Social psychology)


Readers often identify Gregor’s vermin body as the only horrific element in Franz Kafka’s “The
Metamorphosis.” But what about the walls that he lives in? This study will deemphasize the horror of Kafka’s creature and offer new themes to consider. The following collects scholarship around Kafka’s time to understand how he used the domestic space to create horror. It includes studies on Gothic literature and Freud’s term “unheimlich” from his essay “The Uncanny.” The findings bring light to a type of horror often overlooked – the horror in the liminal, the “in- between” state of being. This space belongs to neither man nor monster and is neither familiar nor completely fantastical. The purpose of this study is to relay the importance of horror’s grounded nature. Reading works with this type of “weird horror” provides the reader with more insight into the human subconscious and societal structures.

Keywords: horror, the uncanny, unheimlich, domestic spaces, Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis.

Publication Date

Spring 2024

Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.