Discussion Questions 13 — Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz


  1. What is the relationship between Gregor and his family? What clues in the story suggest that his relationship with his family, particularly his father, is unsatisfactory?

Gregors doesn’t seem as if he was really part of the family, he was just the sole provider. He went out to make money to care for them, but never was much times actually spent with them. His relationship with his dad seems quite poor. His dad does not go to seem him while Gregor was in the form of a coach roach. Gregors relationship with his mother and sister are a bit stronger. But the bond with his sister is by far the better of the 3. His sister cares for him and provides him with food during his days of a beetle but still has no interest of trying to communicate with him. As time goes on all of his family stops caring for him, and they begin to think of him as a huge inconvenience.

  1. Discuss the central events in each of the three sections of The Metamorphoses. In what ways do these events suggest that the weakening of Gregor results in the strengthening of the family as a whole?

In the beginning Gregor was the sole provider for his family. They relied on him to make enough money to supply them all with food and a place to live. Once Gregor turns into a coach roach, the family is alarmed/disturbed and unsure of what to do. It doesn’t take long for his family to begin to forget about what Gregor did for them in the beginning, how good of a son/brother he was to them all.

He remains a coach roach, but all hopes the family had of him turning back to human soon faded away. His sister feeds him, but has little desires to try and communicate with a coach roach of a brother. So she simply slides the food in daily and shuts the door quickly. As time passes the family struggles with making money and taking care of Gregor in the unusual state he is in.

Towards the end Gregor runs into the middle of the living room alarming all of the family. The family than agrees that Gregor must go for the well-being of the family. That night Gregor dies, and the family bonds together in relief to know they no longer have to figure out what to do with a coach roach that was once there son/brother.

  1. How effective do you find Akhmatova’s Requiem as a political protest? Requiem was not published until well after the purges were over and Stalin was dead; is it, then, totally lacking in influence?

I found Akhmatova’s poem very effective in describing what she and many other women went through. Her poem is a standing point for mothers, lovers, and wives.  She put up a tough battle against the Stalin army and though she lost everything her poem pushed through and was eventually published and now she is known as one of the Great Russian poets of the twentieth century. Akhmatova’s poem will continue to live on in history.   For war continues on to this day. Akhmatova’s poem is history and expresses the horror and tough times that the victims of war were forced to experience.

  1. How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?

The poem is described as the torso is oh so powerful and brilliant, and though there is no head the eyes are expressed to be full of life like a ripening fruit. A lesson has been learned and there is no way to escape from that lesson, therefore you need to Change your life. Running from the lesson will do you no good.

One thought on “Discussion Questions 13 — Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz

  1. Jared

    Where do you think the term coach roach comes from? I always heard it as “the roach coach,”which generally was applied to corner stands or “gut trucks” that provided cheap food on the go.
    I found it pretty sad that Gregor had almost no respect for the work he did to provide his family with a living and by the end his family could basically be identified as parasites early in the book, who them trade places with Gregor and he becomes the parasite. Was their love ever real or was it just concern for themselves. His mother is the only one that, although finds him repulsive, still cares about his emotional needs in the story.

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