The Metamorphosis Audio Version
The Metamorphosis Text Version
About the Author
Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
Franz Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family on July 3, 1883 in Prague, Bohemia, which is now known as the Czech Republic. His three younger sisters who outlived him died in concentration camps during World War II. Kafka and his sisters were mostly raised by governesses while their parents worked. Their father was reported to be quite overbearing and disrespectful of Kafka’s writing career. Kafka obtained his Doctor of Law degree in 1907 but was uninterested in practicing. Kafka had a nervous temperament worsened by his father’s attitude toward him. He seems to have suffered from clinical depression and social anxiety all his life. Excessive stresses and strains induced migraines, insomnia, constipation, boils, and other ailments. He worked a job at an insurance institute to pay the bills and wrote in his spare time, producing novels and short stories. Kafka began to feel the effects of tuberculosis in 1917 and it was the cause of his death in 1924 at age 40.
“The Metamorphosis” (1915)
“The Metamorphosis” is Franz Kafka’s best-known work. It is a novella (short book) published in 1915 in German.
Questions for reading “The Metamorphosis”:
Kafka is a deliberately vague about what exactly Gregor metamorphosizes into. Why do you think that is? What did you picture him turning into in your mind?
Why does Gregor’s transformation take place? Who is to blame for his metamorphosis?
What effect does Gregor’s metamorphosis have on him? What effect does it have on the people around him? What is their attitude about the roles of dependency being reversed?
How does the Charwoman’s behavior toward Gregor differ from that of his family?
What do you think Gregor’s transformation represents?
What symbolic objects did you notice in the story?
Is Gregor the only person who undergoes a metamorphosis in this story?
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