Kafka The Metamorphosis Essay Topics

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TheMetamorphosis is a richly layered and textured story that is open to many interpretations, that is, religious, philosophical, autobiographical, Freudian, and mythical, to name a few. The following paper topics contain a thesis statement, and an outline should be used to stimulate your thinking and writing about the story.

Topic #1
The term metamorphosis means a complete and profound change in form, structure, and substance or a change in form from one stage to the next in the life of an organism. The central change in TheMetamorphosis is the change in Gregor’s life, from an ordinary man and traveling salesman to a gigantic insect. Gregor’s transformation causes other remarkable changes in the story—changes that directly bear on his family. Write a paper that shows how Gregor’s major change in life also affects the lives of his parents and sister.

I. Thesis Statement: Change is the essence of life, and in The Metamorphosis, the theme of change is organic to the action, dictating the unfolding of the plot and influencing the characters’ behavior and destiny.

II. Initial change in Gregor’s life: his metamorphosis into a gigantic insect and the thoughts, reflections, and feelings this profound change causes in him on the first day.
A. Gregor’s conscious awareness that he has become an insect and the thoughts and feelings this discovery evoke in him
B. The familiar sights and objects in Gregor’s room and how these objects are contrasted to the extreme circumstances he finds himself in
C. Gregor’s chief concern, his job; the fact that he’s missed his early morning train, and his fear that someone from his office may come to check on him
D. The response of the chief clerk and his parents as he shows himself to them for the first time

III. Second change in Gregor’s life: his adjustment to his new body, to his new life as an insect
A. Recognizing the limitations of his body; his loss of appetite for milk, his private feelings for his sister
B. Feelings of guilt and sorrow when he overhears his father discussing the family’s plight and financial situation
C. The effect the removal of his furniture has on his spirit; changes in Grete as she cares for him
D. How Gregor’s helplessness affects Mr. Samsa and how this changes the balance of power in the house
E. Gregor’s futile attempt to placate his father’s anger and his hapless retreat to his room when he is being bombarded with apples
F. His mother’s desperate screams and pleas to spare Gregor’s life when she runs to her husband

IV. Third change in Gregor’s life and in that of his family: complete reversal of family roles, that is, the family no longer depends on Gregor for their support, while Gregor must now depend on his family for his survival
A. The different jobs the family takes to earn money
B. Grete’s increasing ambivalence toward Gregor
C. Gregor’s decline in health; his slide into disintegration and decay
D. The domino effect the three lodgers have on the plot and on Gregor’s fate

V. The change in the family fortunes after Gregor’s death
A. Hope and renewal symbolized by the coming of spring, the warm sunshine in the train, Grete’s youthful, attractive body
B. Grete’s own metamorphosis into a young, beautiful eligible bride

Topic #2
Other short stories have been written in which the central character’s dying and death have a lasting effect on those...

(The entire section is 1493 words.)

Part 1, Division 1
1. Write an essay showing the kinds of details Kafka uses to establish Gregor’s life before his metamorphosis into an insect. How do these familiar details and objects define Gregor’s character and life?

2. As soon as the chief clerk arrives in the Samsa apartment, Gregor reacts with alarm and fear. Write an essay explaining why Gregor stands in such fear of this man, who seems to be nothing more than the chief’s messenger.

Part 1, Division 2
1. The relationship between Gregor and his father is at the core of the story. Write an essay describing this relationship both before and after Gregor’s metamorphosis.

2. During much of this part of the story, we get to learn a lot about Gregor’s inner life—his thoughts and feelings. Write an essay describing Gregor’s private thoughts and emotions, and explain how these thoughts and feelings express his attitude toward his family and the outside world.

Part 2, Division 1
1. Grete’s character undergoes a dramatic change in this section. Trace the changes in her character in an essay that highlights the changes in her attitude, character, and personality.

2. Gregor’s furniture is very dear to him and he becomes very upset when Grete and her mother start to remove it from his room. Write a detailed essay explaining why Gregor feels he cannot part with his furniture.

Part 2, Division...

(The entire section is 486 words.)


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