Franz Kafka's novella The Metamorphosis, published in 1915, opens with one of the most famous lines in fiction: "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." The creature has also been translated as "vermin," "cockroach," or "beetle," an ambiguity which is as inherent to rest of the work. The Metamorphosis follows Gregor's interaction with his family, his job, and society. It's been studied inside and out, and taught in schools for generations. Everyone has a different opinion of what it means: the Freudians, the Marxists, the Postmodernists.. but the general consensus is that it's a brilliant portrayal of alienation, betrayal and self-sacrifice. Kafka doesn't go on a philosophical rant about the fate of man, rather he perfectly encapsulates it in a brilliantly dark and comic masterpiece, all in succinct, deadpan language.