Transformations

1.

Gregor is not a part of the family. His sister takes care of him by bringing him food, but refuses to speak to him. His mother defends him to his manager, but the writing implies that this is an act of self-protection. In fact, his sister and mother seem to interact with him only as a source of livelihood. His father is like a dark cloud in the house. He’s presented as unable to work at the beginning, but it later becomes clear that he’s plenty physically able when he beats Gregor. He seems to hate Gregor for working when he refuses to, while simultaneously depending on him for his work. Gregor is deprived quality time with them because his entire life is work and sleep and thinking about work. By the time the story starts, he’s just a house guest to them.

2.

In the beginning of the story, Gregor is ignored by the family and the family ignores each other. He provides for them but they are nothing more than grateful for the money. Familial warmth and love are both absent. He is simultaneously emasculating his father by doing the work that needs to be done and emasculated by his father for being forced to do the work when it’s not something he wants to do.

When Gregor turns into a giant insect, his family’s need to keep the chief manager from finding out bond them. Then his presence continues to be a reminder that they need to provide for themselves. The sister and housekeeper continue to physically care for Gregor, but as they realize that the father needs a job and the mother needs to rent out rooms, their shared need wakes them up and brings them together.

By then, Gregor might as well not be there. And now that his family is starting to sustain themselves, he is now the useless part of the family. They were the cockroaches when he worked and paid for their lives, but now that he has literally become what they figuratively used to be, they see him for the useless thing that he is and start talking about getting rid of him. He hears this and, as they should have done if they had realized they were useless before, removes himself so that they don’t have to take care of him anymore

3.

Akhmatova’s Requiem is a great work of art and manages to function as political protest without being political or social propaganda. This comes from the poem’s concentration on the human lives during Stalin regimes not as caricatures of suffering but as real humans in difficult situations.   It is not totally lacking in influence because oppressive regimes exist all around the world. It will only be lacking in influence when the last totalitarian ruling body is gone.

4.

The famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo is an answer to the rest of the description of the torso. Apollo’s torso is described as filled with some stronger power, and this is visualized by the author as different types of light. Even a torso of a statue has meaning when connected to the energy of life. You must change your life means, you can be filled with this “light” also. It’s vague enough that I see lots of different interpretations in the others students answers about how exactly that change is supposed to happen. They all seem equally reasonable because the poem is supposed to get at the heart of what each individual wants or needs and point out that their jobs as living things are to get to that.

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