Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WRITING PROMPT: The Metamorphosis

Many critics of the Metamorphosis have argued that Gregor's turning into a giant insect is but one of several examples of a character "morphing" in some way from one state to another. An example of this would be Gregor's morphing, compared to his sister Grete; Gregor morphed physically, while Grete morphed mentally and emotinally. Franz Kafka appeared to have used these metamorphosis to show how the characters viewed themselves, others, and the world in general.

In the Metamorphosis, Gregor Samsa morphed into a cockroach/beetle type insect overnight; before his change, his family was dependent of him because Gregor was the source of money and their way of paying all of his father's debt off. Though when Gregor morphed, all of this completely changed; Gregor's metamorphosis caused him to now be the dependent of his family. Gregor needed their help and care, in order to survive. It appears to most readers that Gregor could now "step outside the box", and see what it was like to be the one recieving the help instead of giving the help. Before this, Gregor really didn't focus on much of anything, besides working. Back then he saw himself as a useful source to his parents. But when he morphed into the insect he saw himself as a burden to his family; someone(thing) that was just in their way and causing them unnecessary pain. Because of all of the time spent in his room, Gregor now had the opportunity to actually look outside of his window and view the world (even though his vision was becoming blurry and colorless). Gregor continued putting his family's feelings before his own, as he had been doing, and decided the only way to give them their peace and happiness back, was to leave them in some way.

Though, while Gregor was morphing physically his sister was also morphing; Grete Samsa had started out in the beginning of the Metamorphosis as a young teenage girl, whose parents had viewed as a child and a useless person. Grete felt that she was not useless, but needed a way to prove that to her parents. And when Gregor first morphed, she appeared to have sorrow and sympathy for him, but also used his change, as an opportunity to prove to her parents that she was not the useless child they thought her to be.

Grete, in the beginning, was the only one who was providing care for Gregor and trying to help him adapt to this change (bringing him food, cleaning his room, etc.). And after the Samsa's maid left, Grete even began doing household chores such as cooking and cleaning, and also working, while still providing care for Gregor. Eventually, her mother and father had changed their opinions about her. Yet, it appears that not long after her parents began to view her positively, her care for Gregor began to diminish; she had accomplished what she wanted (her parents appreciation), and because of that, she had changed into a beautiful young woman.

Franz Kafka used their changes in the novel, to show how people's attitude towards certain things can change completetly, once they are presented a different situation to be in, and have to step into someone else's shoes; Gregor went from a workoholic to someone who now depended on his parents and sister for his everyday survival; while Grete went from a quiet young girl, to a confident young woman. Gregor and Grete's changes throughtout the Metamorphosis differed in several ways, but both of their changes had an effect on how they viewed themselves, others, and the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Discussion Questions

1. Does Gregor’s family feel sadness at his death? Relief?
2. Why did Grete call Gregor a monster?
3. Why does Gregor still have love and affection for his family even after they forget about him?
4. Why does Grete now choose to get a job? Both of her parents are getting one, so what is the point?
5. Why did Kafka make Gregor die?
6. Why does Gregor feel depression at his family’s reaction to him?
7. Do you think they moved the furniture out of the room to kill him faster?
8. Why was his family so selfish that they couldn’t help him when he needed it the most?
9. How des Gregor’s family get over losing him so quickly?
10. How long has Gregor been in the room before he dies?


1. To me it appears that Gregor’s family felt a small amount of sadness over his death because that was their son and their brother; but at the same time, they also felt relief because they no longer had to care for him and have him n the house, placing a burden on them
2. Grete calls Gregor a monster, because she was angry and frustrated with him, and he had also scared his mother again, by crawling across the wall.
3. Gregor still has love and affection for his family, because it’s his family, and regardless of their flaws and mistakes and how they treated him in the end- he still would love them.
4. I think Grete now chose to get a job even though her parents were both getting one, because she no longer had the responsibility of caring for Gregor, and she’s becoming older and wants to get out and become her own person.
5. Kafka made Gregor die, in my opinion, because the expected thing that would have happened, would have been for him to morph back into a human again, back instead Kafka just chose for him to die, and end the story like that.
6. Gregor feels depression at his family’s reaction to him, because before he morphed into a bug and was supplying them with money- they loved him and cared for him, but as soon as that changed, that looked at him differently and started to abandon him.
7. I don’t think they moved the furniture out of the room to kill Gregor; I think their intensions were to help him adapt to his environment, in his present state, as best as they could.
8. I don’t think his family was not helping him out of selfishness, but because they weren’t accustomed to something like this happening and didn’t really know how to respond to it.
9. Gregor’s family gets over losing him so quickly, by going out as a family together, starting to look for a new place to live, and also looking for jobs.
10. Gregor was in the room at least a month before he had died.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writing Prompt # 2

One of the strongest human drives appear to be a desire for power. In George Orwell's 1984, some of the characters were trying to go against that power. In the novel, the party wanted complete control, and anyone who questioned it was gone. One character, Julia, decided to fight against what she believed to be wrong.

Julia looked to be the ideal citizen in Oceania, but deep inside she hated it, along with their givernment. She would foloow their orders, go to any functions, and join in with the rallies that were being made against the enemy. But in reality, Julia was going against the Party; wearing make-up, having sex whenever she pleased, and thinking whatever she wanted.

Julia and Winston Smith, decided in about the middle of the novel- that they were going to stand up and fight against the party. They knew because of how they felt for each other and their thoughts about the party, that they were destined to be killed in a matter of time.

The author, George Orwell, used power struggle to enhance the meaning of the work, by having O'Brien made out to be a friend of Winston and Julia, but in the end, he was the enemy. But O'Brien had to struggle with the two of them because he knew from the beginning that they were against the Party, and he alsoknew they had an attraction to one another. O'Brien had to initially pretend he was on their side, and then, seperate the two of them, and uses multiple forces to get them to side with the Party, and mentally believe in what the Party said was the truth. This adds meaning to the work, because although someone may have a high level of power, there are going to be poeple who are not going to agree with that person, and are going to fight to the end in what they believe in. And when that situation occurs that person with the power either has to give them he opportunity to continue to fight, or use whatever is necessary to change their opinion and how they look at things.

Another way the author used power struggle to enhance the work, was by, at first he made it as if Julia and Winston were one of the few people in the world who were fighting against the Party. But towards the end of the novel, when they were in the jail cells, many other citizens from Ocenia were being brought in, becuase they too had something against the Party. This adds meaning becuase, usually when something isn't right- it may seem as if one is the only one fighting against it, but no- there are other people fighting too, and that particular gorvenment now has to struggle to keep those against it and those for it, seperate.

George Orwell showed many examples of power struggle, from how those aginst it looked at it, and how the government looked at it. Julia took a stand, and struggled and fought against the government until ultimately she could fight no longer.