illustration of a giant insect with the outline of a man in a suit standing within the confines of the insect

The Metamorphosis

by Franz Kafka

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Read chapter 3 of The Metamorphosis. What questions arise as you go?

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Below you will find my annotations of Chapter Three of The Metamorphosis, including comments and/or questions for each page you asked for:

Page 449: If the apple which has become lodged in Gregor's back makes Gregor's family recall that he is one of them, not an "enemy," and owed "nothing but patience" as a result of duty, why does no one bother to remove the apple for him? This seems like it would be the first and foremost act of "patience" to perform for a family member--to alleviate his pain. 

Page 450: My comment here is that Gregor's father seems to be a greater source of trouble for the family than Gregor himself. His lack of attention to his own hygiene and appearance, his insistence upon falling asleep in his chair, and his theatrics about being helped off to his room seem to make him sound like a giant vermin his own self. 

Page 451: Why does Gregor maintain the meticulous attitudes of his previous human form now that he is an insect/vermin? Wouldn't he naturally adapt to these dirty conditions, as actual insects and vermin do?

Page 452: The text says that the charwoman had a frame which "enabled her to survive the worst a long life could offer" and that she "by no means recoiled from Gregor." What kind of incidences would be so bad in her life that she would not take fright in seeing an enormous insect in a man's room? 

Page 453: My comment here is that it is interesting how Gregor's attention to detail seems to be heightened by his transformation. He notices small things which he might not have before: how the lodgers bend over their food before consuming it, the sound of their teeth while chewing and the implications this has, the presence of the violin-playing, etc.

Page 454: Is it really the artistic satisfaction of hearing beautiful music that Gregor craves, or is it the company of his sister? If it's the latter, why this sudden change when Gregor had just proclaimed his "surprise at his growing lack of consideration for the others"?

Page 455: I find this particular page bizarre. It's clear that the lodgers are manipulating the discovery of Gregor into a situation in which they can financially take advantage of Gregor's family. They don't strike me as the most cleanly or "proper" bunch, which would explain why their initial reaction to seeing him would be fascination rather than disgust. Gregor's sister's impulse to go make their beds and tidy their rooms seems silly given this knowledge; that kind of action isn't going to calm these men down.

Page 456: Gregor's family seems to believe that he can't understand them, although he can. My question for Gregor would be: why don't you make greater efforts to facilitate some sort of communication between you and your family, no matter how difficult or impossible the task seems? 

Page 457: Why does the charwoman manage to "[credit] [Gregor] with every kind of intelligence" when--as I just mentioned--his own family can't recognize him as a thinking, feeling being? 

Page 458: Do any of Gregor's family members experience true grief at his passing? Do they recognize that Gregor had internalized their death wish for him?

Page 459: Another point of interest here to me is the fact that the lodgers are ordered to leave immediately after Gregor's death. It seems like they themselves were a kind of vermin--predatory men looking to profit off the family's unfortunate circumstances by any means necessary. 

Page 460: Why does the conclusion of the novella place such emphasis on Gregor's sister's body and her marriageability?  

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