[2015] Katrina Choong (AP Literature): The Metamorphosis/Franz Kafka

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[2015] Katrina Choong (AP Literature): The Metamorphosis/Franz Kafka

Main Characters

'A dedicated traveling salesman that despies his job but works to pay off his father's debt and care for his family. Although he transforms into a giant insect at the beginning of the story, he does not question it and accepts it. The story follows his journey adapting to his new life in his new body.

Gregor's younger sister whom he adores. Grete shows concern for Gregor and takes care of Gregor the first couple months of his transformation. However throughout the novel, Grete slowly loses the connection between her and her brother as he transformes more into the insect. She goes through a transformation of her own from a naive child to a working woman to support her family.

Gregor Samsa

Grete Samsa

Mrs. Samsa

Gregor and Grete's mother is initially shocked and distraught of Gregor's transformation. She still loves him and hopes he will return back to his original body. Her materal care comes into conflict with repulsion and like Grete, she loses interest in caring for her son. When Gregor passes away she seems to move on and not linger his death.

Gregor and Grete's father became dependent on Gregor to pay off the debt. He is forced to go back to work when Gregor transforms. His attitude towards Gregor shifts to disgust, frustration, and possibly fear at Gregor's insect appearance. When Gregor dies, he does not show any heartache most likely because he thought of Gregor as a burden and was repulsed by his transformation.

Mr. Samsa

Allegory/Extended Metaphor, Symbolism, and IronyAllergory/Extended Metaphor-As written in an allegory, Kafka alludes to the isolation of the modern man. This story closely parallels with Kafka's own life as he experiencced iolation and feeling like he was a burden. In this sense, Kafka, as an author, and Gregor, as a character, are more relatable people. Objects, people, and actions have underlying meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. Bug-Gregor is transformed into an insect as oppose to another creature to showcase the dirty and disgusting connotations of an insect and connectioning it to isolation and feeling unwanted. The apple Gregor's father throws-The apple represents the fall of man's innocence in the story of Adam and Eve. The apple has been personified to have ''thrown death'' at Adam and Eve in John Donne's Holy Sonnet 9 like how Gregor's father has. The apple is able to penetrate Gregor's exoskeleton and it takes him a couple months to recover. Gregor's father's violent action represents the repulsive feelings he has towards Gregor and the time it takes him to recover highlights his acceptance of his new body conditions. Picture of woman in fur-The picture is almost taken away from him when his mother and sister come to remove the furniture from his room. He feels possessive over it because it is his last object that reminds him of his hummanity. It represents the lack of sexuality, loneliness, and longing for interpersonal connections.Irony-Gregor transforms into insect but seems to be the character with the most human in his thoughts and feelings because he still feels a connection to his hummanity. It is ironic that he wakes up as a giant insect but does not seems fazed by his transformation.

ThemesAlienation can be brought upon and individual by modern society standards and family obligations. Dehumanization can be caused by lack of care and rejection from other humans.Being alone for a long period of time can make one call her personal identity into question.

The Metamorphosis by: Franz Kakfa

Gregor Samsa wakes up one day to find out he has transformed into a giant insect. He struggles to get out of bed and his manager comes to lure him out. His father manages to open the door to reveal a transformed Gregor. Everyone reacts with disgust and shock. Gregor tries to follow the manager to allow him to keep his job but is forced back into his room by his father and is injured in the process. Gregor notices everyone in the house keeps their distance from him except his sister who leaves him moldy food. Gregor hides under the sofa so she does not see him. This routine continues for a couple month. Gregor begins to feel like a burden to his family as they take up jobs to sustain their family. His room is emptied of his furniture and used as storage. Gregor attempts a second ''escape'' from and his father injures him by throwing an apple at him. Grete slowly stops visiting Gregor because she has a job and loses interest. Gregor's family allows boarders in their home to earn money. One night, Gregor sneaks out to hear Grete's violin performance in the living room. The boarders notice him and are digusted. The resoltuion occurs when Gregor decides all he has caused is his family's unhappiness and must leave. He dies the next morning. His family moves out and begins a new chapter in their lives. There is not a clear climax because the plot line is flat but each part has a climax of its own.

POV and Structure FeaturesKafka writes in third person limited because he wants readers to sympathize with Gregor’s transformation. As mentioned earlier, insects have dirty and disgusting connotations. Readers have insight to his inner thoughts about how his relationship with his family has fallen apart since he has turned into a bug. Even though his relationship with his family wasn’t that strong before, readers sympathize with the insect Gregor that he may be alone forever.Kafka's style immitates a ranting, long, and descriptive like structure with multiple hyphens and rhetorical questions to depict unfamiliarity and curiosity to adapt. The story is written in three parts with a climatic ending like a play.


This quote shows explains the title of the book well as it is not just Gregor's metamorphosis but "the" which can apply to anyone. Grete also transformed form a young girl into a mature woman to be married soon.

Gregor's transformation is shown to be moving quite quickly even moments after awakening. It also depicts Gregor's feeling of isolation as he is the only one who can understand what he is saying.

Gregor's situation is not regarded as odd or strange and is said in a matter-of-fact tone that lays out the rest of book. It explains that sometimes the events in life can seem absurd but has a deeper meaning outside our conscience.

"The words he uttered were no longer understandable, apparently, although they seemed clear enough to him, even clearer than before, perhaphs because his ear had grown accustumed to the sound of them" (276).

"Mr. and Mrs. Samsa almost at the same moment, as they became aware of their daughter's increasing vivacity, that is spite of all the sorrow of recent times, which had made her cheeks pale, she had bloomed into a pretty girl with a good figure" (318).

"As Gregor Samsa awoke from one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect" (266).


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