The Metamorphosis Questions and Answers
by Franz Kafka

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What significance is attached to the food in The Metamorphosis?

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Food in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is quite literally the downfall of the protagonist, Gregor Samsa. In part 2 of the story, Gregor (who has of course already transformed into an insect) desperately desires to crawl out of his room to get a glimpse of his beloved mother. This greatly upsets his father, since the family had decided the best way to deal with their hideously disfigured son is to keep him contained in his room.

Gregor’s father reacts by throwing apples at him to chase him back in to his room. Some of the apples miss, and some of them bounce harmlessly off of his back, but one gets stuck in his back—and it hurts. Gregor retreats to his room. The apple stays stuck in Gregor’s back for over a month and begins to decay; meanwhile, his appetite decreases.

In the meantime, Gregor’s family takes in boarders who live and eat in their house for pay. One night, Gregor’s sister plays the violin while the boarders have dinner. Gregor listens to the boarders and thinks to...

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