- Gregor’s relationship with his family is one almost of a stranger looking in a window. He is a part of the family but almost more like an employee. He gets up and is away before the rest of the family sits down for breakfast, travels for work, and is home late. His pay is divided up for the family expenses, at first with great thanks, only later to be expected and controlled. He works and does so for the family, wants to send his sister to a conservatory for violin mastery, wants to get them out from under the thumb of the director, and hates every minute of it but feels obligated to continue till the debt is repaid. His father seems more worried about what others will think than about his son. I get the idea that they never where close and only tolerated each other. Almost like his dad saw Gregor as a nuisance even before he turned into a cockroach. In the story he is very unhappy with his job, seems to be the only one who understands his sister’s love of music, finds his mom frail, and father almost a mystery – man of rituals and routines.
I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the story and could place myself in Gregor’s shoes easily, even as a roach. I cried when he was hurt and later when he died. As I was reading it I was relating the story to my 14 year old son, had a long discussion of if this happened to one of us how we would have reacted different, he cried as well at the death of the roach, and was shocked at the relief of the family. I guess this is what happens when the readers in the family get lost in a book. My husband just shook his head.
- In the beginning the family relies on Gregor for everything. He is the bread winner and reason behind where they live and such. Responsibility is almost his alone, while the others just relax and do as they wish. Once he is a cockroach and can no longer work, the family is in dismay and have to look out for themselves for the first time in five years. They try to feed and take care of Gregor but in truth no one wants to be around him as a roach and they fear him or what he might do. No one thinks of him as a being of reason anymore and rely on their own ideas, never even trying to communicate with Gregor. The family finds strength within each other and themselves. As Gregor declines in health he is easy to forget, shut away and avoided. They become to busy with life to think much of what is best for a roach/son/brother; to the point of wishing him gone. After he is dead it a relief to the family, the shame is gone of having a roach as a part of the family and the fear is also gone. Throughout the ordeal they had to pull together and support each other, get to know each other instead of being just a group of strangers in the same family. In the end they are a stronger family because of the great sacrifice of Gregor. His death brought them together in ways his life never could have.
- Akhmatova’s poem is universal so it is a good political protest of the horrors, suffering, and about the victims of war and/or oppression. It has a generalization about it that places the reader in her shoes of lover, mother, or wife. Even though it has specifics about a certain time the basic idea can be fostered to other wars and the despair felt. Because so many can relate to the words, I not sure it would ever lose its influence. Just as the actions of Stalin lives in history, this other side of the fence view also lives. The prisoners’ stories and their loved ones story is part of the history and shall live on through the ages. You feel the anxiety of these seemingly useless acts. You feel the fear of the populace, and you understand the hopelessness of the persecuted. It could be about any war, rÃ©gime control, or tyrannical government. Even with the purges over and Stalin dead it still speaks out about the oppression and what the families went through during that time. Its influence is lasting if only as a reminder of a harsh reality many experienced.
- I think of it as a call to change yourself from being just a viewer of life to actually living it and expressing yourself. A call to find the vitality in beautiful works and find the passion in yourself. If mere stone can seem to have such life in it then shouldn’t we being alive also posses this great vibrant life! Find your passion and let it shine, find your beauty and show it, change; start living as you want and full of life instead of in the shadows.