Discussion Questions 13 — Kafka; Rilke; Akhmatova; Lorca; Xun; Mahfouz
- 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?
In the beginning of the story Gregor is the provider for his family. He is the only one that works in the house and he provides all the financial help. Even though he is the only one supporting his family, his father is cruel to Gregor and beats him. Gregor’s Mother and sister on the other hand care for Gregor. His mother tries to see him even during his transformation and his sister even feeds him. When Gregor is unable to work due to the metamorphoses, his mother and sister try to cover for him.
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?
In the first section of The Metamorphoses, Gregor is the sole provider for the family and everyone is incredibly distant from each other. When Gregor awakens to find himself changed into a bug he thinks about life and how he will be able to provide the way he has been.
In the second section of The Metamorphoses, Gregor becomes unable to take care of himself let alone his family the way he had been previously. Gregor’s father disowns him because he is disgusted with Gregor’s new form while his mother and sister kind of take Gregors place and take care of him.
Towards the end of the story Gregor’s family starts to change their ways and start providing for themselves. I think that Gregor’s metamorphoses was beneficial for the family in the end because it took the all responsibility off of him and put some onto the family.
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 didn’t find Akhmatova’s Requiem to be very effective as a political protest in its time. No one was able to read it because it didn’t get published until well after the purges were over and Stalin was dead. However, it was very well written and used today as more of an example for todays generation.
4. How should we interpret the famous command at the end of Archaic Torso of Apollo?
I think the famous command “you must change your life’ should be taken literally. Only you are in charge of you, and if you’re unhappy with what you’ve accomplished then you must change your life and accomplish something great and burst like a star.