1. It is clear through Kafka’s descriptions of Gregor’s life at home that his relationship with his parents lack warmth. Kafka descriptions clues the reader in that while the family was initially grateful that Gregor was able to provide for them, it eventually became a simple transaction. Gregor’s relationship with his father is mostly that of a financial provider. Kafka describes Gregor’s father as an elderly man who can no longer work. Gregor, left with the burden of being the only one in the household who is able to support the family financially, feels pressure from his father.

Figuratively speaking, the hissing sounds coming from Gregor’s father represent Gregor’s feelings of hostility and pressure coming from his father. As Gregor’s father tries to push Gregor into his room with his cane, Gregor cries out “If only there hadn’t been those unbearable hissing sounds issuing from his father! They caused Gregor to lose all orientation.” The hissing sounds coming from his father echo the pressure that Gregor feels from his father.

2. In the opening section of The Metamorphosis, Gregor has transformed and the story explains some family dynamics. Those dynamics change as Gregor’s condition becomes less of an incident and more of a permanent state. They come to support themselves without him and eventually come to sort of live apart from him, who they consider to be an “it”.

3. While it may have been useful for Akhmatov’s Requiem to be available as a protest during the relevant time, I think most good social or political commentary is extremely valuable in future generations as history unfolds to really be imitations or attempted corrections of the past. We are always fighting the last war.

4. Rilke’s command at the end of his poem “Archaic Torso of Apollo” can be interpreted as a call for the viewer of the sculpture to carry with them the significance of of the “brilliance from inside” that Rilke describes as radiating from within the sculpture. The godlike description of Apollo in this poem evokes a sense of the watchful eye of a godlike presence. This poem rests on the concept that the beauty of the sculpture comes from the fact that we cannot understand the Apollo’s brilliance. Rilke’s refrain of “otherwise” tells us that the power of this sculpture comes from the fact that we cannot know the significance or the nature of the “brilliance from inside” that glows in Apollo’s torso. This godlike power is brilliant because we are not able to understand it. The viewer, having witnessed this power, must now live their life differently. Rilke commands us to live our lives in awe of the things we cannot understand.

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