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?

Gregor’s relationship with his family seems distant and someone out of sorts. Gregor is the sole provider for the family after his father’s business flops leading for some resentment when his father doesn’t help support the family afterwards. His mother seems to be worried about his condition trying to see her “new” son but being stopped by both the sister and the father. His father seems to have had little love for his son from the start, because as soon as Gregor changes he abandons him, regarding him as bad, or evil.


  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?

Gregor’s transformation brings the family together at the loss of their sole provider and main meal ticket. After the help leaves and the father is forced to get a job, the family becomes closer and united in their efforts to support themselves but also in their distain/resentment of Gregor in his new form.

  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?

Although published after the time in which it was meant to affect, the poem brings to light the atrocities that took place and has influence on future readers. Just because a literary piece isn’t published or recognized in the time it would have seemed to make the most difference doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a difference at all.

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

I read this as a challenge to become all that you are and let people see your beauty and radiance. I also read it as a threat, or warning as it read:

“would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.”

This read to me as a threat that you are being watched, and can be seen so change your life.torso-apollo-munich

2 thoughts on “Discussion Questions 13 — Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz

  1. gpetrie

    I like that you added images to your response, those always seem to make responses more fun to read, lol. Also I really liked how you answered question four, I thought it was interesting what you said about needing to change because someone is watching.

  2. megkwag

    I agree with your thoughts on Akhmatova’s Requiem. I feel the same way! It may not have been useful at the time, but it can be used to help us better understand things and even how to deal with certain aspects of life if we are ever put into that type of situation.

Comments are closed.