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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Part 3, Division 2: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why do the three lodgers threaten to sue Mr. Samsa?

2. What private thoughts does Gregor have of Grete when he hears her violin playing?

3. Why does Grete want to get rid of Gregor?

4. How does Gregor feel once he is back in his room?

5. How would you describe the cleaning woman’s responses to Gregor when she first comes into the house?

6. Why does Gregor feel that Grete is right about his disappearing from everyone’s life?

7. Who discovers Gregor’s body?

8. Why does Mr. Samsa order the three lodgers out of the house?

9. What do the Samsas plan to do the day of Gregor’s death?

10. In what sense is The Metamorphosis an “optimistic” story?

1. When it is clear to the three lodgers that they have been living with a disgusting insect in the same apartment, they threaten to sue Mr. Samsa for the disgusting and intolerable conditions that prevail in the household.

2. Gregor fantasizes that Grete will come to his room and play for him alone. He dreams that he will never let her out of his room, that he will guard all the doors against intruders and outsiders, and that Grete will be so happy and thrilled by his promise to send her to music school that she would allow him to kiss her on her bare neck. It is an heroic fantasy, where Gregor sees himself as Grete’s hope, protector, and salvation, roles he was never able to fulfill in life.

3. Grete realizes that Gregor is no longer her brother; she speaks of him as a “creature” and uses the impersonal pronoun “it” when referring to him. She tells her parents that they must find a way to “get rid of him”; otherwise he will surely drive all of them into the gutter.

4. Once Gregor returns to his room, a feeling of calm comes over him. His aching body no longer troubles him. He is more relaxed and serene, less agitated. His thoughts turn to death.

5. The cleaning woman reacts with a sense of amusement and curiosity when she first lays eyes on Gregor. She displays neither fear nor horror at the sight of him but seems to accept him just as he is.

6. Gregor comes to realize that the only solution for him and for his family is for him to disappear, that is, to die. Only in that way, will his family be happy again and be able to resume their lives as before.

7. The cleaning woman is the first to discover Gregor’s corpse.

8. The sight of the three lodgers standing in Gregor’s doorway and looking down at the flattened body of his son angers Mr. Samsa enough to want them out of his house. It is a spontaneous, human reaction that probably expresses Mr. Samsa’s latent hostility for the three lodgers.

9. On the day of Gregor’s death, the Samsas decide to take a long deserved rest and plan to take a trip to the country to relax. They each write their employers telling them of their intentions to do just that.

10. The Metamorphosis can be regarded as an “optimistic” story for a few reasons. Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. The car they are riding in is “filled with warm sunshine,” suggesting a brighter future, and Gregor’s death, though by no means senseless, results in a renewal of the family’s dreams and hopes.

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Part 3, Division 1: Questions and Answers