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Discussion Question #1 for Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (1915, Ch. 2 – to the end, pp. 762-782)
1. What worries Gregor most regarding his transformation and what effects does his metamorphosis bring to his family? What is his family’s concern after that? Gregor has been supporting his parents and sister for the past several years, but he “had kept only a few dollars for himself” (766). Where did his product of labor (wage) go, and why did he keep only a few dollars for himself? Why does Gregor now feel “shame and grief,” especially when his parents talk about the “necessity of earning money” (766)? How would you characterize Gregor? What does Gregor overhear about his father’s financial situation after his father’s business bankruptcy? Why do you think Gregor’s father never told Gregor about the money he was able to save after his business bankruptcy? How would you describe Gregor’s father?
2. 2 What do Gregor’s parents worry about after his metamorphosis? What do Gregor’s father, mother, and sister do to support the family? Why does his father refuse to take off his uniform even in the house? What time does Gregor’s father get to work, and what worries him? Why does Gregor’s father throw apples at Gregor, and how does Gregor feel about his father? How would you describe the relationship between Gregor and his father? Does his father care about Gregor? When does Gregor stop being treated as a human being by his family, and why?
3. 3 How does Gregor feel about his family’s treatment of him after his metamorphosis? Why does he hardly eat anymore? Why does Grete tell her parents, “Things can’t go on like this. Maybe you don’t realize this, but I do. I won’t pronounce the name of my brother in front of this monster, and so all I say is: we have to try to get rid of it. We’ve done everything humanly possible to take care of it and to put up with it; I don’t think anyone can blame us in the least” (778)? Why does Grete call Gregor “this monster” and “it”? Why does Gregor feel that “His conviction that he would have to disappear was, if possible, even firmer than his sister’s”(780)? What caused Gregor to feel this way? How would you interpret Gregor’s death? Is Gregor’s death self-imposed and/or pressured by Grete and his father? Is it his sacrificial death for his family, or is it his voluntary withdrawal from society? What does his death symbolize?