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The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Transcript of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Acceptance and Resistance to Change
Diction and Syntax
The book's original language is German
Symbolism and Imagery
The extent of compassion
The importance and impact of money
Gregor's sister is the only one who takes care of him in the beginning of the story.
His mother tries to take care of him and attempts to clean out his room.
Gregor's father, who is least sympathetic, still allows Gregor to stay in the house essentially unharmed.
Despite all of their good intentions, in the end they want Gregor out
When Gregor is transformed into a giant bug he allows himself to find a kind of acceptance and remain calm about his situation. His family cannot find in themselves to accept the new Gregor no matter how much they try. Even when cleaning his sister cleans his room, he is forced to stay under the bed to avoid exposing her to the new him.
While not as prevalent in the book, a clear importance of money can be seen throughout the whole thing. After Gregor's change, the rest of his family must find their own jobs to maintain a sort of lifestyle. Even renting out a room to a trio of less than kind men.
The translation might not be as high a level as the original.
"...transformed into a horrible vermin."
"...changed into a monstrous verminous bug."
The diction isn't too formal. Often times Kafka uses everyday speech to depict the everyday actions of Gregor.
Depending on the character, Kafka occasionally uses words to fit them.
Ex. "Come and 'ave a look at this..."
He gives the charwoman an English accent with colloquial diction.
"...transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin." (Gregor)
"She was still a child of seventeen..." (Sister)
"She suffered from asthma..." (mom)
"His father was healthy but old.." (dad)
Mostly through actions
Gregor wanting to enroll his sister into a finer arts college.
Gregor single handedly supporting his family after their business collapses.
Gregor thinking that his job is too much work and that one shouldn't need to wake up early.
*Refusal to leave humanity
As they clean out his room, Gregor Struggles to allow them to take things such as his sole painting out of his room. If they remove these things how can he still be human?
His "Verminous" body
The frailty of the body
The lack of importance of the body
The importance of the mind.
The state of Gregor's room
The importance of Gregor to his family
The sympathy they have left.
Kafka uses vivid imagery to describe the condition that Gregor is in:
"...he was covered in the dust that lay everywhere in his room and flew at the slightest movement..."
No Geographical location or Historical Date
All of the action takes place in the Samsas' apartment.
Allows Gregor to change into an insect
(wall climbing, confinement)
The apartment becomes part of their economic struggle
They need to move into an appropriate space but can't because of their fear of moving Gregor.
They are forced to find three borders to live with them and pay rent
How Plot is Developed.
Plot is developed through the changes seen in the characters.
Changes in Sympathy
*A creation of a desperate family.*
As the family gets more desperate, the attitude towards Gregor worsens.
Eventually the family wishes that he would disappear so that they could move on with their lives.
The Authors Style
While the actual way the book is written isn't that far from other authors that I've read, Kafka's characterization and character creation in general can be at times quite different. This is primarily seen with the lack of change in the main character. Gregor Samsa is not a static character by any means. He constantly struggles to retain his sense of humanity, however, he is calm and collected the entire time. After everything that happens to him, he releases not a single fit of fear or rage up to his death.
The way Kafka characterizes Gregor makes it seem as the main character is simply watching the play that is his family as a secondary character.
Kafka was one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. I don't speak German so I don't know if the English holds my full understanding of the book down, but what I read was something that I would absolutely read again.
The development that Kafka produces on his characters leave the reader questioning their own morality. Should one be abandoned for the greater good of a small group of people? and does family make an exception for this? When the family had moved on they felt like a burden had been lifted off of their shoulders, should family ever think so lowly of their own? As I finished the book I couldn't decide whether to feel sad for Gregor or be glad for the family.
Things that I noticed differently
How to Read Literature like an English Professor
Raining when on first day of the transformation
Sunny when Gregor dies and the family leave on a trip
Gregor dies at 3:00 a.m. - The holy trinity/afterlife
Grete blossoms into a beautiful young lady after the death of her brother