The Metamorphosis Topics for Further Study
by Franz Kafka

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Depending on the translation and the commentator, Gregor is described variously as an insect, a bug, a beetle, a cockroach, a louse, and a piece of vermin. Is it possible to say precisely what sort of creature he turns into?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of turning into a bug the way Gregor does?

Music is sometimes identified with the spiritual realm. On the other hand, it is sometimes linked to the animal kingdom as something that appeals even to non-human species. How does music, especially Grete's violin playing, function in this story?

To what extent is The Metamorphosis part of the existentialist tradition in literature exemplified by the works of such writers as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Eugene Ionesco?

What does Gregor die of? His wound? Starvation? Self-starvation? A broken heart? A desire to die? Who is responsible for his death? Is Kakfa being deliberately ambiguous on this issue? If so, why?