In comments below the question What style are Kafka's novels?, Peter Shor said,
Kafka has been characterized as "magical realism". On the other hand, there are lots of people who disagree with that. (...)
Is The Metamorphosis magical realism? It depends on how you define magical realism. If you define it as "fiction that contains supernatural events which are unexplained," it most certainly is. On the other hand, if you define it as "fiction where the supernatural events are an objective correlative to the characters' emotions or to other events in the book," which describes the archetypical magical realist novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (along with many other magical realist novels), then The Metamorphosis is arguably not magical realism.
What arguments have scholars used to characterise Kafka's short story The Metamorphosis as magic realism or magical realism? Based on the examples of magical realism that I have read in the past (e.g. Alain-Fournier's Le Grand Meaulnes, Hubert Lampo's De komst van Joachim Stiller, Johan Daisne's De man die zijn haar kort liet knippen were presented to me as examples of magical realism when I was at school) and the works by Kafka that I read at university and later, I had the impression that Kafka represented an entirely different type of world, without ever actually putting my finger on that difference. Peter Shor pointed out that it has to do with how one defines "magical realism". How have scholars defined magical realism in a way that
- excludes Kafka's work, notably "The Metamorphosis", or
- includes "The Metamorphosis"?
I intentionally insist on definitions from academic papers and books, not Wikipedia or websites that help students do their homework.