- 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 is the sole provider for his family; they couldn’t live without him, or so he thinks. He is loved, but it is a love based off of need and ego and manipulation. His father is weak and pitiful, and none of the family members work except Gregor.
- 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?
The first phase is Gregor waking up as a cockroach, and he is so involved in providing for his family that he immediately experiences a need for rationality and normality, and a way to eat breakfast and get to work. When his transformation is discovered by his boss and family, he is disowned and he disgusts everyone that sees him. As he recedes to his room, he finds that his family was hiding a meager savings from him, and they all start thriving and getting jobs. His father starts working and becomes stronger. The family also makes a transition, caused by Gregor’s transition, as they becomes more uncaring than they previously were. His sibling and mom try to help but his repulsion is undeniable, and when he disgusts a family that is staying with them, he is shunned. We see Gregor unable to be depended on physically, and so he gets trapped in the mental confines of his conscious and the physical confines of his room. The final state shows the death of Gregor, unable to eat and then dying of depression. The family is better for it, as they are now all working and are better for the change. It is very sad to me.
- 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 find Requiem’s protest entirely relevant in influence. Although it didn’t published in time to see Stalin in rule, Stalin’s influence in Russia and the world was still very important to the political welfare of the countries around it, and anyone’s thought on the subject matters. Especially with all the riots happening around the world today, although they are sometimes exaggerated, are necessary for finding peace. I just wish it could be more effective, because although it has the ability to be, it is not often you see it as an example in a textbook. You see Hitler and the Nazi regime, not the just as influential Stalin.
- How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?
We should interpret it to live a strong life. To make a transition of our own, from who you are to something great, and only you are capable of doing it. The entire poem is boasting of this beautiful body, and it sounds so inspirational and dazzling, it is only natural to want to aspire towards it. I like to think every human body is “defaced” (as Rilke says), if they do not live to their fullest.