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Transcript of The Metamorphosis
"One morning, upon awakening from agitated dreams, Gregor Samsa found himself in his bed, transformed into a monstrous vermin" (117) .
The novella is an extended metaphor of the average insect who works for a group as a whole.
What is a formalist view?
Kevin Dong, Jennifer Olson, Riquanda Walker, and Kathryn Willer
“His room, a regular human room, only a little on the small side, lay quiet between the four familiar walls” (3).
“The breakfast dishes were laid out lavishly on the table, since for his father breakfast was the most important meal of the day” (15).
“The door was slammed shut with the cane, then at last everything was quiet” (19).
Point of View
Imagery & Setting
"Well, I haven't abandoned all hope; once I've saved enough to pay off my parents' debt to him... 'I'll make a big, clean break!'" (119).
Gregor is the sole breadwinner of his family having to work to take care of his parents' problems.
"One morning, upon awakening from agitated dreams, Gregor Samsa found himself in his bed, transformed into a monstrous vermin. He lay on his hard, armorlike back, and when lifting his head slightly, he could view his brown, vaulted belly partitioned by arching ridges, while on top of it, the blanket about to slide off altogether, could barely hold. HIs many legs, wretchedly thin compared with his overall girth, danced helplessly before his eyes" (117).
Kafka uses a variety of sentences such as compound with simple sentences along with commas to create pauses of nervousness.
Controlling idea- Life is unpredictable and uncontrollable.
"As Gregor Samsa awoke... he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin." (Kafka 7)
“Gregor felt fine, with the exception of his drowsiness, which was really unnecessary after sleeping so late, and he even had a ravenous appetite” (5).
“…he scuttled under the couch, where, although his back was a little crushed and he could not raise his head any more, he immediately felt very comfortable” (22).
“If only his father did not keep making this intolerable hissing sound! It made Gregor lose his head completely” (18).
“The light of the electric street-lamps lay in the pallid streaks on the ceiling and on the upper parts of the furniture, but underneath, where Gregor was, it was dark” (20).
“In the living room, as Gregor saw through the crack in the door, the gas had been lit, but while at this hour of the day his father was in the habit of reading the afternoon newspaper in a loud voice to his mother and sometimes his sister too, now there wasn’t any sound" (21).
Maid/cook- past life, fake friends
"She was tearfully thankful for the dismissal" (25).
Human Gregor- hard work, individualism
“What a grueling profession I picked!... It is much more aggravating work than the actual business” (7).
antihero/protagonist, dynamic, round
"One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked" (117).
"'We've got to get rid of it,' the sister now said exclusively to the father, for the mother heard nothing through her coughing, 'it will kill the both of you, I can see it coming'"(180).
Grete- maturity, independence, women’s rights
“The sister, who had taken a job as a salesgirl, was studying shorthand and French in the hope of attaining a better position in the future” (37).
Cockroach Gregor- Villain with ultimately good heart, isolation, satisfaction
“He was determined to reach the sister and suggest that she take her violin and come into his room for no one was as worthy of her playing as he would be. He would never let her leave his room” (44).
antagonist, dynamic, round
Dad- failure, perseverance, independent, courage
“’Leave my house at once!’ pronounced Herr Samsa, and he pointed to the door” (50).
Gregor finds comfort hidden from his family. His family has become cruel to him so he has begun hiding all the time.
Inciting Event: "He found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin" (3).
Starts the metamorphosis of Gregor and the family.
"Instead, he drove Gregor on, as if there were no obstacle, with exceptional loudness... when from behind, his father gave him a hard shove..." (19)
Father physically hitting Gregor
"HIs mother, incidentally, began relatively soon to want to visit gregor, but his father and his sister at first held her back..." (29).
The mother is torn between seeing Gregor and not eeing him in his bug-like form.
Gregor's father hisses at Gregor like he would at a true cockroach. This comparison bothers Gregor.
Mom- weak, maternal love
“She begged the father to spare Gregor’s life” (36).
Boarders- bullies, upper class
“I give immediate notice. Naturally I will not pay a cent for the days I have already spent here” (45).'
The archetype of light means goodness while darkness is the unknown. Gregor is stuck in his dark room, full of the unknown, wondering how the next moment will unfold.
"'Well,' said Mr. Samsa, 'now we can thank God!'" (52).
The family changes to have a hopeful outlook out life.
Manager & Clerk- stress, business, greed
“Did the whole innocent family have to be shown that only the head clerk could be entrusted to investigate this suspicious matter?” (14).
"'We must try and get rid of it'... 'I can't stand it anymore either'" (49).
The family gives up on Gregor.
Up until then, has done many things to try and help him live.
At this time, the family realizes there is no hope for Gregor.
Point of View
Third Person, limited omniscient.
"He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light" (46).
"'The office manager has come to inquire why you didn't catch the early train. We have no idea what to tell him. Besides, he would like to speak to you personally. So please open the door'" (126).
Gregor's family and manager are dying to get into his room in the beginning..
Gregor is now referred to as "it" which lightens his "gross" appearance towards the end of the novella.
Never revealed to the reader.
Don't know exactly who.
Do not get to understand the narrator.
Not related to the story.
"Because the lodgers sometimes also took their evening meal at home in the common living room, the door to it stayed shut on many evenings. But Gregor had no trouble at all going without the open door (155)."
"The father hurried over to them and with outstretched arms tried to push them into their own room and at the same time to block their view of Gregor with his own body. At this point they became really somewhat irritated, although one no longer knew whether that was because of the father’s behaviour or because of the knowledge they had just acquired that they had, without being aware of it, a neighbour like Gregor (155)."
Both of these scenes depict the life of an "invalid" during Kafka's times, which is the parallel story.
Gregor's only immediate worry is his hunger. The fact that he is a disgusting vermin has not yet phased him.
All familiarity of Gregor's life has disappeared except for the normalcy of his own room.
Even though a major change has occured in the Samson's life, Gregor's father is still getting ready to eat breakfast. Acting as if it is a normal day.
Gregor's father wants nothing to do with Gregor and his new appearance. Instead of facing his obvious problems, he slams the door on them to keep them hidden away.
Finally, it seems that normal life has been interrupted for the Samsons.
"Critical Approaches to Literature." Critical Aproaches to Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.
Levinson, Marjorie. What Is New Formalism? 2nd ed. Vol. 122. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. New York: Bantam Classic, 2004. Print.
IPhone Camera. Digital image. Grabi. N.p., 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
IPhone Contacts App. Digital image. Cult of Mac. N.p., 15 Feb. 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
IPhone Settings App. Digital image. Google Apps @ NC State. N.p., 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
Cockroach Metamorphosis. Digital image. Just A Thought. Blogspot.com, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2013.
Cover art to Hindemith/Shoenberg/Kodaly/Bartok CD. Digital image. Rare Classical Vinyl.
Bing.com, n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra. "3. Andantino." Cond. Rafel Kubelik. Rec. 3-5 Apr. 1953.
Hindemith/Shoenberg/Kodaly/Bartok. Mercury Living Prescense, 1954. CD.
Starts with Gregor's change (inciting event)
Shows how family helps Gregor live.
Explains how the family transforms to make up for Gregor's absence in the human world.
Eventually, family stops helping him and gives up hope
Gregor dies, then family returns to normal.
Since the inciting even is so early in the book, allows the focus to be one the family's change rather than Gregor's physical state.
By having only one paragraph on Gregor's death, we see more of the family's reaction and actions rather than how Gregor died.
"'Dead?', asked Mrs. Samsa, looking at the charwoman enquiringly, even though she could have checked for herself and could have known it even without checking. "That's what I said", replied the cleaner, and to prove it she gave Gregor's body another shove with the broom, sending it sideways across the floor. Mrs. Samsa made a movement as if she wanted to hold back the broom, but did not complete it. "Now then", said Mr. Samsa, "let's give thanks to God for that" (183).
Both of the passages exemplify Kafka's neutral tone. In the passages something dramatic is occurring but there is no emotion
"Gregor’s serious wound, from which he suffered for over a month —since no one ventured to remove the apple, it remained in his flesh as a visible reminder—seemed by itself to have reminded the father that, in spite of Gregor’s present unhappy and hateful appearance, he was a member of the family and should not be treated as an enemy, but that it was, on the contrary, a requirement of family duty to suppress one’s aversion and to endure—nothing else, just endure" (180).
The apple symbolizes Gregor's loss of paradise.
Confiscation of Furniture
"Now, his sister noticed immediately the new amusement which Gregor had found for himself—for as he crept around he left behind here and there traces of his sticky stuff—and so she got the idea of making the area where Gregor could creep around as large as possible and thus of removing the furniture which got in the way, especially the chest of drawers and the writing desk" (175).
Symbolizes Gregors loss of human characteristics
"However, now both his father and his mother frequently waited in front of Gregor’s door while his sister cleaned up inside, and as soon as she came out, she had to explain in great detail how things looked in the room, what Gregor had eaten, how he had behaved this time, and whether perhaps a slight improvement was perceptible" (148).
The door is the only barrier between Gregor and his family
"Then he saw hanging conspicuously on the wall, which was otherwise already empty, the picture of the woman dressed in nothing but fur. He quickly scurried up over it and pressed himself against the glass which held it in place and which made his hot abdomen feel good. At least this picture, which Gregor at the moment completely concealed, surely no one would now take away" (160).
The painting symbolizes Gregor's human relationships
"Gregor's eyes then focused on the window and the dismal weather... made him feel quite melancholy" (118).
Gregor is prisoner in his own home.
Ashwoman- honesty, nosy, resistance to change
“She never failed to briefly open the door a crack every morning and evening to look in on Gregor” (41).
People adapt to their environment.
“He thought his state of mourning the state of his room and that this kept him from eating, but he soon grew accustomed to precisely these changes” (Kafka 41).
"All the time, Grete was becoming livelier...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" (188).
"His father went back to his breakfast, but his sister whispered: 'Gregor, open the door, I beg of you'" (120).
Grete undergoes a major metamorphic transition.
Relationships between parts
Chapter 1- Introduces the problem, and main characters.
Mostly from Gregor's view point.
Only chapter focused on Gregor
Chapter 2- How family reacts and copes with Gregor's change.
Mostly from the family's view point.
Develops Gregor's alienation from his family.
Chapter 3- Family loses hope
Gregor is referred to as "it" rather than "he"
Gregor's death, family back to normal.
Loyalty in a family doesn’t stem from love, but rather necessity.
“Gregor… was a member of the family… they were required to quell their adversion and tolerate him, but only tolerate” (Kafka 37).
People need to find the balance between work and leisure, family duties and individualism.
“They decided to spend the day resting and going for a walk; they not only deserved this respite from work, they desperately needed it” (Kafka 50).