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?
First of all, this was not the first time I have read The Metamorphoses, and I still didn’t like it. I know that it is supposed to be symbolic, however, I find it disturbing. Anyway, to answer the question, I find that Gregor is really only there because he feels as if he owes it to his parents. His mother and sister do take care of him and cover his back while he is absent from work, however, I think that they are disturbed at his metamorphism, and really only feed him etc. because they feel as if it is their motherly and sisterly duties. I believe that his father feels unmanly for not being able to provide for the family, and therefore can’t help being bitter to Gregor for he is the one working and putting bread on the table.
2. 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?
His metamorphism, the effect this has on his family, especially his father, are all pivotal events in this story. I think that throughout this story, the weakening of the provider of the family, makes the rest of the family come together and start getting their junk together. Imagine if someone in your family was always working and providing for everyone and you were used to lounging around, I think it would be hard to get motivated and go get work. Therefor, I think that it may have been somewhat beneficial for the family that Gregor was transformed.
3. 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 think that because it was published after the fact, it could not of persuaded anyone either way during the reign of Stalin, however, I think that it definitely can be a lesson for the future and influence us in that way. Aren’t all history books and stories and even myths, although published after the fact still teach their readers important lessons?
4. How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?
I find it like that of the persuasive speeches we have been looking at and discussing in my communication class. Rilke provides a very vivid description of the statue, however, if you were to take away that last sentence, You must change your life… it does not have the same “umph!” to it. That last sentence really seems like the call to action in a persuasive speech and ties the whole poem and similes of Apollo together. I think one should interpret it as him bringing the poem to a close, the conclusion, the part where he has given you all of these awesome smilies and then ends it by that dazzling statement that makes you want to start writing poetry.
I too got that impression of jealousy from Gregor’s father. It was an interesting story, but also showed how family sometimes will only help you so much before shoving you(Gregor) under the rug. I thought the Requiem was interesting, but as you said being published after the fact has a different sort of influence. Great post!
I agree with you on the point that as Gregor the provider for the family becomes weakened it kicks the rest of the family into gear to get off their bums and start providing for themselves.