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?
    Looking through Gregor’s eyes, he seems to be a great son and brother. Each and every day he goes to a job that he despises, just so he is able to provide for his family. A big reason why he is working this job is because he wants to pay his sister’s way to school. When the random transformation occurs, his family treats it like an illness. They are very calm about the entire situation. Since his transformation, Gregor’s mind begins to change. Gregor’s dad is not very thrilled with what has happened, mainly because now he has to begin to work and provide for the family. He cares more about himself rather than his own son.


  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?
    First Event: Gregor is transformed into a giant insect. This transformation was unexpected. At this point in time, is family treats the transformation like an illness. Therefore, they begin to take care of him and try to help with his every need. All Gregor can think about his is job.
    Second Event: Gregor’s sister starts bringing him food and necessities, because he is no longer capable of doing these type of things himself. At this point, he begins to develop insect-like qualities. He begins crawling around and thinks it is best for his furniture to be moved so that he is able to freely move about.
    Third Event: Gregor’s father attacks him! His family begins to take pity on him. They leave his door open at night so that he can be watched. One night, he overhears his sister playing the violin. He plans on trying to talk to his sister and let her know that he wants to send her to music school. While trying, he gets spotted. His family sits down with him and explains that he needs to leave. He became very heartbroken and dies.


  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 to be very effective! Her writing seemed “real.’ A more personal influence was incorporated into her work. It drew a mental picture into my mind of what women really went through in history. It shows us what really happened during that point in time. It wasn’t just a made up story that someone wrote down, it was real-life. The writings are able to still be spoken of to show us how life used to be.


  1. How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?
    I think this poem has to do with changing one’s life. At the end, it says “for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.’ This stood out to me because I think it’s saying that you have to stand out among everyone else to be noticed. It also speaks of a stone being defaced. You are dull until you make yourself shine!

3 thoughts on “Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz

  1. Mary Filbin

    I like your answer about the Requiem and how it shows us a piece of history. Found it was a great insight into how these woman felt and the suffering they went through. I was very touched at how distant Gregor’s family was in respect to him before and after his transformation. I get no one loves roaches but it also seemed like no one really loved him as a man either.

  2. vradams

    I like your interpretation of the last sentence of Rilke’s poem! He wanted to write poetry that had meaning and similes that really stood out, so it would make sense that he would correlate it to ones life.

  3. sxkristoffersen

    Good point about Gregor’s family treating his change as an illness. It was sad how his father was so mad at Gregor because now the father had to go find work to help support his family. I agree with what you said about the Requiem, because even though it was published later it still contained the story of what was going on during the Soviet era.

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