This noisy scurry of hers upset Gregor twice a day; he would crouch trembling under the sofa all the time, knowing quite well that she would certainly have spared him such a disturbance had she found it at all possible to stay in his presence without opening the window. On one occasion, about a month after Gregor's metamorphosis, when there was surely no reason for her to be still startled at his appearance, she came a little earlier than usual and found him gazing out of the window, quite motionless, and thus well placed to look like a bogey.
Gregor would not have been surprised had she not come in at all, for she could not immediately open the window while he was there, but not only did she retreat, she jumped back as if in alarm and banged the door shut; a stranger might well have thought that he had been lying in wait for her there meaning to bite her. Of course he hid himself under the sofa at once, but he had to wait until midday before she came again, and she seemed more ill at ease than usual.
This made him realize how repulsive the sight of him still was to her, and that it was bound to go on being repulsive, and what an effort it must cost her not to run away even from the sight of the small portion of his body that stuck out from under the sofa. In order to spare her that, therefore, one day he carried a sheet on his back to the sofa-it cost him four hours' labor- and arranged it there in such a way as to hide him completely, so that even if she were to bend down she could not see him.
Had she considered the sheet unnecessary, she would certainly have stripped it off the sofa again, for it was clear enough that this curtaining and confining of himself was not likely to conduce to Gregor's comfort, but she left it where it was, and Gregor even fancied that he caught a thankful glance from her eye when he lifted the sheet carefully a very little with his head to see how she was taking the new arrangement. For the first fortnight his parents could not bring themselves to the point of entering his room, and he often heard them expressing their appreciation of his sister's activities, whereas formerly they had frequently scolded her for being as they thought a somewhat useless daughter.
But now, both of them often waited outside the door, his father and his mother, while his sister tidied his room, and as soon as she came out she had to tell them exactly how things were in the room, what Gregor had eaten, how he had conducted himself this time and whether there was not perhaps some slight improvement in his condition. His mother, moreover, began relatively soon to want to visit him, but his father and sister dissuaded her at first with arguments which Gregor listened to very attentively and altogether approved.
Later, however, she had to be held back by main force, and when she cried out: Can't you understand that I must go to him? Gregor's desire to see his mother was soon fulfilled. During the daytime he did not want to show himself at the window, out of consideration for his parents, but he could not crawl very far around the few square yards of floor space he had, nor could he bear lying quietly at rest all during the night, while he was fast losing any interest he had ever taken in food, so that for mere recreation he had formed the habit of crawling crisscross over the walls and ceiling.
He especially enjoyed hanging suspended from the ceiling; it was much better than lying on the floor; one could breathe more freely; one's body swung and rocked lightly; and in the almost blissful absorption induced by this suspension it could happen to his own surprise that he let go and fell plump on the floor. Yet he now had his body much better under control than formerly, and even such a big fall did him no harm. His sister at once remarked the new distraction Gregor had found for himself-he left traces behind him of the sticky stuff on his soles wherever he crawled-and she got the idea in her head of giving him as wide a field as possible to crawl in and of removing the pieces of furniture that hindered him, above all the chest of drawers and the writing desk.
But that was more than she could manage all by herself; she did not dare ask her father to help her; and as for the servant girl, a young creature of sixteen who had had the courage to stay on after the cook's departure, she could not be asked to help, for she had begged as an especial favor that she might keep the kitchen door locked and open it only on a definite summons; so there was nothing left but to apply to her mother at an hour when her father was out. And the old lady did come, with exclamations of joyful eagerness, which, however, died away at the door of Gregor's room.
Gregor's sister, of course, went in first, to see that everything was in order before letting his mother enter. In great haste Gregor pulled the sheet lower and tucked it more in folds so that it really looked as if it had been thrown accidentally over the sofa. And this time he did not peer out from under it; he renounced the pleasure of seeing his mother on this occasion and was only glad that she had come at ale "Come in, he's out of sight," said his sister, obviously leading her mother in by the hand.
Gregor could now hear the two women struggling to shift the heavy old chest from its place, and his sister claiming the greater part of the labor for herself, without listening to the admonitions of her mother who feared she might overstrain herself. It took a long time. After at least a quarter of an hour's tugging his mother objected that the chest had better be left where it was, for in the first place it was too heavy and could never be got out before his father came home, and standing in the middle of the room like that it would only hamper Gregor's movements, while in the second place it was not at all certain that removing the furniture would be doing a service to Gregor.
She was inclined to think to the contrary; the sight of the naked walls made her own heart heavy, and why shouldn't Gregor have the same feeling, considering that he had been used to his furniture for so long and might feel forlorn without it. I think it would be best to keep his room exactly as it has always been, so that when he comes back to us he will find everything unchanged and be able all the more easily to forget what has happened in between. On hearing these words from his mother Gregor realized that the lack of all direct human speech for the past two months together with the monotony of family life must have confused his mind, otherwise he could not account for the fact that he had quite earnestly looked forward to having his room emptied of furnishing.
Did he really want his warm room, so comfortably fitted with old family furniture, to be turned into a naked den in which he would certainly be able to crawl unhampered in all directions but at the price of shedding simultaneously all recollection of his human background? He had indeed been so near the brink of forgetfulness that only the voice of his mother, which he had not heard for so long, had drawn him back from it. Nothing should be taken out of his room; everything must stay as it was; he could not dispense with the good influence of the furniture on his state of mind; and even if the furniture did hamper him in his senseless crawling round and round, that was no drawback but a great advantage.
Unfortunately his sister was of the contrary opinion; she had grown accustomed, and not without reason, to consider herself an expert in Gregor's affairs as against her parents, and so her mother's advice was now enough to make her determined on the removal not only of the chest and the writing desk, which had been her first intention, but of all the furniture except the indispensable sofa. This determination was not, of course, merely the outcome of childish recalcitrance and of the self-confidence she had recently developed so unexpectedly and at such cost; she had in fact perceived that Gregor needed a lot of space to crawl about in, while on the other hand he never used the furniture at all, so far as could be seen.
Another factor might have been also the enthusiastic temperament of an adolescent girl, which seeks to indulge itself on every opportunity and which now tempted Grete to exaggerate the horror of her brother's circumstances in order that she might do all the more for him.
In a room where Gregor forded it all alone over empty walls no one save herself was likely ever to set foot. And so she was not to be moved from her resolve by her mother, who seemed moreover to be ill at ease in Gregor's room and therefore unsure of herself, was soon reduced to silence and helped her daughter as best she could to push the chest outside. Now, Gregor could do without the chest, if need be, but the writing desk he must retain. As soon as the two women had got the chest out of his room, groaning as they pushed it, Gregor stuck his head out from under the sofa to see how he might intervene as kindly and cautiously as possible.
But as bad luck would have it, his mother was the first to return, leaving Grete clasping the chest in the room next door where she was trying to shift it all by herself, without of course moving it from the spot. His mother however was not accustomed to the sight of him, it might sicken her and so in alarm Gregor backed quickly to the other end of the sofa, yet could not prevent the sheet from swaying a little in front.
That was enough to put her on the alert. She paused, stood still for a moment and then went back to Grete. Although Gregor kept reassuring himself that nothing out of the way was happening, but only a few bits of furniture were being changed round, he soon had to admit that all this trotting to and fro of the two women, their little ejaculations and the scraping of furniture along the floor affected him like a vast disturbance coming from all sides at once, and however much he tucked in his head and legs and cowered to the very floor he was bound to confess that he would not be able to stand it for long.
They were clearing his room out; taking away everything he loved; the chest in which he kept his fret saw and other tools was already dragged off; they were now loosening the writing desk which had almost sunk into the floor, the desk at which he had done all his homework when he was at the commercial academy, at the grammar school before that, and, yes, even at the primary school-he had no more time to waste in weighing the good intentions of the two women, whose existence he had by now almost forgotten, for they were so exhausted that they were laboring in silence and nothing could be heard but the heavy scuffling of their feet.
And so he rushed out-the women were just leaning against the writing desk in the next room to give themselves a breather-and four times changed his direction, since he really did not know what to rescue first, then on the wall opposite, which was already otherwise cleared, he was struck by the picture of the lady muffled in so much fur and quickly crawled up to it and pressed himself to the glass, which was a good surface to hold on to and comforted his hot belly.
This picture at least, which was entirely hidden beneath him, was going to be removed by nobody. He turned his head towards the door of the living room so as to observe the women when they came back. They had not allowed themselves much of a rest and were already coming; Grete had twined her arm round her mother and was almost supporting her. Her eyes met Gregor's from the wall.
She kept her composure, presumably because of her mother, bent her head down to her mother, to keep her from looking up, and said, although in a fluttering, unpremeditated voice: Well, just let her try it! He clung to his picture and would not give it up. He would rather fly in Grete's face. But Grete's words had succeeded in disquieting her mother, who took a step to one side, caught sight of the huge brown mass on the flowered wallpaper, and before she was really conscious that what she saw was Gregor screamed in a loud, hoarse voice: This was the first time she had directly addressed him since his metamorphosis.
She ran into the next room for some aromatic essence with which to rouse her mother from her fainting fit. Gregor wanted to help too-there was still time to rescue the picture-but he was stuck fast to the glass and had to tear himself loose; he then ran after his sister into the next room as if he could advise her, as he used to do; but then had to stand helplessly behind her; she meanwhile searched among various small bottles and when she turned round started in alarm at the sight of him; one bottle fell on the floor and broke; a splinter of glass cut Gregor's face and some kind of corrosive medicine splashed him; without pausing a moment longer Grete gathered up all the bottles she could carry and ran to her mother with them; she banged the door shut with her foot.
Gregor was now cut off from his mother, who was perhaps nearly dying because of him; he dared not open the door for fear of frightening away his sister, who had to stay with her mother; there was nothing he could do but wait; and harassed by self-reproach and worry he began now to crawl to and fro, over everything, walls, furniture and ceiling, and finally in his despair, when the whole room seemed to be reeling round him, fell down on to the middle of the big table.
A little while elapsed, Gregor was still lying there feebly and all around was quiet, perhaps that was a good omen. Then the doorbell rang. The servant girl was of course locked in her kitchen, and Grete would have to open the door. It was his father. Grete answered in a muffled voice, apparently hiding her head on his breast: Therefore Gregor must now try to propitiate his father, since he had neither time nor means for an explanation.
And so he fled to the door of his own room and crouched against it, to let his father see as soon as he came in from the hall that his son had the good intention of getting back into his room immediately and that it was not necessary to drive him there, but that if only the door were opened he would disappear at once. Yet his father was not in the mood to perceive such fine distinctions. Gregor drew his head back from the door and lifted it to look at his father. Truly, this was not the father he had imagined to himself; admittedly he had been too absorbed of late in his new recreation of crawling over the ceiling to take the same interest as before in what was happening elsewhere in the flat, and he ought really to be prepared for some changes.
And yet, and yet, could that be his father? The man who used to lie wearily sunk in bed whenever Gregor set out on a business journey; who welcomed him back of an evening lying in a long chair in a dressing gown; who could not really rise to his feet but only lifted his arms in greeting, and on the rare occasions when he did go out with his family, on one or two Sundays a year and on high holidays, walked between Gregor and his mother, who were slow walkers anyhow, even more slowly than they did, muffled in his old greatcoat, shuffling laboriously forward with the help of his crook-handled stick which he set down most cautiously at every step and, whenever he wanted to say anything, nearly always came to a full stop and gathered his escort around him?
Now he was standing there in fine shape; dressed in a smart blue uniform with gold buttons, such as bank messengers wear; his strong double chin bulged over the stiff high collar of his jacket; from under his bushy eyebrows his black eyes darted fresh and penetrating glances; his onetime tangled white hair had been combed flat on either side of a shining and carefully exact parting. He pitched his cap, which bore a gold monogram, probably the badge of some bank, in a wide sweep across the whole room on to a sofa and with the tailends of his jacket thrown back, his hands in his trouser pockets, advanced with a grim visage towards Gregor.
Likely enough he did not himself know what he meant to do; at any rate he lifted his feet uncommonly high, and Gregor was dumbfounded at the enormous size of his shoe soles. But Gregor could not risk standing up to him, aware as he had been from the very first day of his new life that his father believed only the severest measures suitable for dealing with him. And so he ran before his father, stopping when he stopped and scuttling forward again when his father made any kind of move.
In this way they circled the room several times without anything decisive happening, indeed the whole operation did not even look like a pursuit because it was carried out so slowly. And so Gregor did not leave the floor, for he feared that his father might take as a piece of peculiar wickedness any excursion of his over the walls or the ceiling. All the same, he could not stay this course much longer, for while his father took one step he had to carry out a whole series of movements. He was already beginning to feel breathless, just as in his former life his lungs had not been very dependable.
As he was staggering along, trying to concentrate his energy on running, hardly keeping his eyes open; in his dazed state never even thinking of any other escape than simply going forward; and having almost forgotten that the walls were free to him, which in this room w-ere well provided with finely carved pieces of furniture full of knobs and crevices-suddenly something lightly flung landed close behind him and rolled before him. It was an apple; a second apple followed immediately; Gregor came to a stop in alarm; there was no point in running on, for his father was determined to bombard him.
He had filled his pockets with fruit from the dish on the sideboard and was now shying apple after apple, without taking particularly good aim for the moment. The small red apples rolled about the floor as if magnetized and cannoned into each other. An apple thrown without much force grazed Gregor's back and glanced off harmlessly. But another following immediately landed right on his back and sank in; Gregor wanted to drag himself forward, as if this startling, incredible pain could be left behind him; but he felt as if nailed to the spot and flattened himself out in a complete derangement of all his senses.
With his last conscious look he saw the door of his room being torn open and his mother rushing out ahead of his screaming sister, in her underbodice, for her daughter had loosened her clothing to let her breathe more freely and recover from her swoon, he saw his mother rushing towards his father, leaving one after another behind her on the floor her loosened petticoats, stumbling over her petticoats straight to his father and embracing him, in complete union with him-but here Gregor's sight began to fail-with her hands clasped round his father's neck as she begged for her son's life.
THE SERIOUS INJURY done to Gregor, which disabled him for more than a month-the apple went on sticking in his body as a visible reminder, since no one ventured to remove it-seemed to have made even his father recollect that Gregor was a member of the family, despite his present unfortunate and repulsive shape, and ought not to be treated as an enemy, that, on the contrary, family duty required the suppression of disgust and the exercise of patience, nothing but patience.
And although his injury had impaired, probably for ever, his powers of movement, and for the time being it took him long, long minutes to creep across his room like an old invalid-there was no question now of crawling up the wall-yet in his own opinion he was sufficiently compensated for this worsening of his condition by the fact that towards evening the living-room door, which he used to watch intently for an hour or two beforehand, was always thrown open, so that lying in the darkness of his room, invisible to the family, he could see them all at the lamp-lit table and listen to their talk, by general consent as it were, very different from his earlier eavesdropping.
True, their intercourse lacked the lively character of former times, which he had always called to mind with a certain wistfulness in the small hotel bedrooms where he had been wont to throw himself down, tired out, on damp bedding. They were now mostly very silent. Soon after supper his father would fall asleep in his armchair; his mother and sister would admonish each other to be silent; his mother, bending low over the lamp, stitched at fine sewing for an underwear firm; his sister, who had taken a job as a salesgirl, was learning shorthand and French in the evenings on the chance of bettering herself.
Sometimes his father woke up, and as if quite unaware that he had been sleeping said to his mother: With a kind of mulishness his father persisted in keeping his uniform on even in the house; his dressing gown hung uselessly on its peg and he slept fully dressed where he sat, as if he were ready for service at any moment and even here only at the beck and call of his superior. As a result, his uniform, which was not brand-new to start with, began to look dirty, despite all the loving care of the mother and sister to keep it clean, and Gregor often spent whole evenings gazing at the many greasy spots on the garment, gleaming with gold buttons always in a high state of polish, in which the old man sat sleeping in extreme discomfort and yet quite peacefully.
As soon as the clock struck ten his mother tried to rouse his father with gentle words and to persuade him after that to get into bed, for sitting there he could not have a proper sleep and that was what he needed most, since he had to go on duty at six. But with the mulishness that had obsessed him since he became a bank messenger he always insisted on staying longer at the table, although he regularly fell asleep again and in the end only with the greatest trouble could be got out of his armchair and into his bed.
However insistently Gregor's mother and sister kept urging him with gentle reminders, he would go on slowly shaking his head for a quarter of an hour, keeping his eyes shut, and refuse to get to his feet. The mother plucked at his sleeve, whispering endearments in his ear, the sister left her lessons to come to her mother's help, but Gregor's father was not to be caught. He would only sink down deeper in his chair. Not until the two women hoisted him up by the armpits did he open his eyes and look at them both, one after the other, usually with the remark: This is the peace and quiet of my old age.
Who could find time, in this overworked and tired out family, to bother about Gregor more than was absolutely needful? The household was reduced more and more; the servant girl was turned off; a gigantic bony charwoman with white hair flying round her head came in morning and evening to do the rough work; everything else was done by Gregor's mother, as well as great piles of sewing.
Even various family ornaments, which his mother and sister used to wear with pride at parties and celebrations, had to be sold, as Gregor discovered of an evening from hearing them all discuss the prices obtained. But what they lamented most was the fact that they could not leave the flat which was much too big for their present circumstances, because they could not think of any way to shift Gregor.
Yet Gregor saw well enough that consideration for him was not the main difficulty preventing the removal, for they could have easily shifted him in some suitable box with a few air holes in it; what really kept them from moving into another flat was rather their own complete hopelessness and the belief that they had been singled out for a misfortune such as had never happened to any of their relations or acquaintances. They fulfilled to the uttermost all that the world demands of poor people, the father fetched breakfast for the small clerks in the bank, the mother devoted her energy to making underwear for strangers, the sister trotted to and fro behind the counter at the behest of customers, but more than this they had not the strength to do.
And the wound in Gregor's back began to nag at him afresh when his mother and sister, after getting his father into bed, came back again, left their work lying, drew close to each other and sat cheek by cheek; when his mother, pointing towards his room, said: Gregor hardly slept at all by night or by day.
He was often haunted by the idea that next time the door opened he would take the family's affairs in hand again just as he used to do; once more, after this long interval, there appeared in his thoughts the figures of the chief and the chief clerk, the commercial travelers and the apprentices, the porter who was so dull-witted, two or three friends in other firms, a chambermaid in one of the rural hotels, a sweet and fleeting memory, a cashier in a milliner's shop, whom he had wooed earnestly but too slowly-they all appeared, together with strangers or people he had quite forgotten, but instead of helping him and his family they were one and all unapproachable and he was glad when they vanished.
At other times he would not be in the mood to bother about his family, he was only filled with rage at the way they were neglecting him, and although he had no clear idea of what he might care to eat he would make plans for getting into the larder to take the food that was after all his due, even if he were not hungry. His sister no longer took thought to bring him what might especially please him, but in the morning and at noon before she went to business hurriedly pushed into his room with her foot any food that was available, and in the evening cleared it out again with one sweep of the broom, heedless of whether it had been merely tasted, or-as most frequently happened-left untouched.
The cleaning of his room, which she now did always in the evenings, could not have been more hastily done. Streaks of dirt stretched along the walls, here and there lay balls of dust and filth. At first Gregor used to station himself in some particularly filthy corner when his sister arrived, in order to reproach her with it, so to speak. But he could have sat there for weeks without getting her to make any improvement; she could see the dirt as well as he did, but she had simply made up her mind to leave it alone. And yet, with a touchiness that was new to her, which seemed anyhow to have infected the whole family, she jealously guarded her claim to be the sole caretaker of Gregor's room.
His mother once subjected his room to a thorough cleaning, which was achieved only by means of several buckets of water-all this dampness of course upset Gregor too and he lay widespread, sulky and motionless on the sofa-but she was well punished for it. Hardly had his sister noticed the changed aspect of his room that evening than she rushed in high dudgeon into the living room and, despite the imploringly raised hands of her mother, burst into a storm of weeping, while her parents-her father had of course been startled out of his chair-looked on at first in helpless amazement; then they too began to go into action; the father reproached the mother on his right for not having left the cleaning of Gregor's room to his sister; shrieked at the sister on his left that never again was she to be allowed to clean Gregor's room; while the mother tried to pull the father into his bedroom, since he was beyond himself with agitation; the sister, shaken with sobs, then beat upon the table with her small fists; and Gregor hissed loudly with rage because not one of them thought of shutting the door to spare him such a spectacle and so much noise.
Still, even if the sister, exhausted by her daily work, had grown tired of looking after Gregor as she did formerly, there was no need for his mother's intervention or for Gregor's being neglected at all. The charwoman was there. This old widow, whose strong bony frame had enabled her to survive the worst a long life could offer, by no means recoiled from Gregor. Without being in the least curious she had once by chance opened the door of his room and at the sight of Gregor, who, taken by surprise, began to rush to and fro although no one was chasing him, merely stood there with her arms folded.
From that time she never failed to open his door a little for a moment, morning and evening, to have a look at him. At first she even used to call him to her, with words which apparently she took to be friendly, such as: Instead of being allowed to disturb him so senselessly whenever the whim took her, she should rather have been ordered to clean out his room daily, that charwoman! Once, early in the morning-heavy rain was lashing on the windowpanes, perhaps a sign that spring was on the way-Gregor was so exasperated when she began addressing him again that he ran at her, as if to attack her, although slowly and feebly enough.
But the charwoman instead of showing fright merely lifted high a chair that happened to be beside the door, and as she stood there with her mouth wide open it was clear that she meant to shut it only when she brought the chair down on Gregor's back.
- The Metamorphosis - Wikipedia.
- The Metamorphosis (F. Kafka).
- Jewish Tales of Mystic Joy.
- Catpower: Das ultimative Körperbuch (German Edition);
Gregor was now eating hardly anything. Only when he happened to pass the food laid out for him did he take a bit of something in his mouth as a pastime, kept it there for an hour at a time and usually spat it out again. At first he thought it was chagrin over the state of his room that prevented him from eating, yet he soon got used to the various changes in his room. It had become a habit in the family to push into his room things there was no room for elsewhere, and there were plenty of these now, since one of the rooms had been let to three lodgers.
These serious gentlemen-all three of them with full beards, as Gregor once observed through a crack in the door-had a passion for order, not only in their own room but, since they were now members of the household, in all its arrangements, especially in the kitchen. Superfluous, not to say dirty, objects they could not bear. Besides, they had brought with them most of the furnishings they needed.
For this reason many things could be dispensed with that it was no use trying to sell but that should not be thrown away either.
All of them found their way into Gregor's room. The ash can likewise and the kitchen garbage can. Anything that was not needed for the moment was simply flung into Gregor's room by the charwoman, who did everything in a hurry; fortunately Gregor usually saw only the object, whatever it was, and the hand that held it. Perhaps she intended to take the things away again as time and opportunity offered, or to collect them until she could throw them all out in a heap, but in fact they just lay wherever she happened to throw them, except when Gregor pushed his way through the junk heap and shifted it somewhat, at first out of necessity, because he kind not room enough to crawl, but later with increasing enjoy meet, although after such excursions, being sad and weary to death, he would lie motionless for hours.
And since the lodgers often ate their supper at home in the common living room, the living-room door stayed shut many an evening, yet Gregor reconciled himself quite easily to the shutting of the door, for often enough on evenings when it was opened he had disregarded it entirely and lain in the darkest corner of his room, quite unnoticed by the family.
But on one occasion the charwoman left the door open a little and it stayed ajar even when the lodgers came in for supper and the lamp was lit They set themselves at the top end of the table where formerly Gregor and his father and mother had eaten their meals, unfolded their napkins and took knife and fork in hand. At once his mother appeared in the other doorway with a dish of meat and close behind her his sister with a dish of potatoes piled high.
The food steamed with a thick vapor. The lodgers bent over the food set before them as if to scrutinize it before eating, in fact the man in the middle, who seemed to pass for an authority with the other two, cut a piece of meat as it lay on the dish, obviously to discover if it were tender or should be sent back to the kitchen. He showed satisfaction, and Gregor's mother and sister, who had been watching anxiously, breathed freely and began to smile. The family itself took its meals in the kitchen.
The Metamorphosis - by Franz Kafka | axoxaxavol.tk
None the less, Gregor's father came into the living room before going into the kitchen and with one prolonged bow, cap in hand, made a round of the table. The lodgers all stood up and murmured something in their beards. When they were alone again they ate their food in almost complete silence.
It seemed remarkable to Gregor that among the various noises coming from the table he could always distinguish the sound of their masticating teeth, as if this were a sign to Gregor that one needed teeth in order to eat, and that with toothless jaws even of the finest make one could do nothing. How these lodgers are stuffing themselves, and here am I dying of starvation! On that very evening-during the whole of his time there Gregor could not remember ever having heard the violin-the sound of violin-playing came from the kitchen. The lodgers had already finished their supper, the one in the middle had brought out a newspaper and given the other two a page apiece, and now they were leaning back at ease reading and smoking.
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When the violin began to play they pricked up their ears, got to their feet, and went on tiptoe to the hall door where they stood huddled together. Their movements must have been heard in the kitchen, for Gregor's father called out: It can be stopped at once. The lodgers came back into the living room and waited. Presently Gregor's father arrived with the music stand, his mother carrying the music and his sister with the violin. His sister quietly made everything ready to start playing; his parents, who had never let rooms before and so had an exaggerated idea of the courtesy due to lodgers, did not venture to sit down on their own chairs; his father leaned against the door, the right hand thrust between two buttons of his livery coat, which was formally buttoned up; but his mother was offered a chair by one of the lodgers and, since she left the chair just where he had happened to put it, sat down in a corner to one side.
Gregor's sister began to play; the father and mother, from either side, intently watched the movements of her hands. Gregor, attracted by the playing, ventured to move forward a little until his head was actually inside the living room. He felt hardly any surprise at his growing lack of consideration for the others; there had been a time when he prided himself on being considerate. And yet just on this occasion he had more reason than ever to hide himself, since owing to the amount of dust which lay thick in his room and rose into the air at the slightest movement, he too was covered with dust; fluff and hair and remnants of food trailed with him, caught on his back and along his sides; his indifference to everything was much too great for him to turn on his back and scrape himself clean on the carpet, as once he had done several times a day.
And in spite of his condition, no shame deterred him from advancing a little over the spotless floor of the living room. To be sure, no one was aware of him. The family was entirely absorbed in the violin-playing; the lodgers, however, who first of all had stationed themselves, hands in pockets, much too close behind the music stand so that they could all have read the music, which must have bothered his sister, had soon retreated to the window, half-whispering with downbent heads, and stayed there while his father turned an anxious eye on them.
Indeed, they were making it more than obvious that they had been disappointed in their expectation of hearing good or enjoyable violin-playing, that they had had more than enough of the performance and only out of courtesy suffered a continued disturbance of their peace. From the way they all kept blowing the smoke of their cigars high in the air through nose and mouth one could divine their irritation.
And yet Gregor's sister was playing so beautifully. Her face leaned sideways, intently and sadly her eyes followed the notes of music. Gregor crawled a little farther forward and lowered his head to the ground so that it might be possible for his eyes to meet hers. Was he an animal, that music had such an effect upon him? He felt as if the way were opening before him to the unknown nourishment he craved. He was determined to push forward till he reached his sister, to pull at her skirt and so let her know that she was to come into his room with her violin, for no one here appreciated her playing as he would appreciate it.
He would never let her out of his room, at least, not so long as he lived; his frightful appearance would become, for the first time, useful to him; he would watch all the doors of his room at once and spit at intruders; but his sister should need no constraint, she should stay with him of her own free will; she should sit beside him on the sofa, bend down her ear to him and hear him confide that he had had the firm intention of sending her to the Conservatorium, and that, but for his mishap, last Christmas-surely Christmas was long past?
After this confession his sister would be so touched that she would burst into tears, and Gregor would then raise himself to her shoulder and kiss her on the neck, which, now that she went to business, she kept free of any ribbon or collar. The violin fell silent, the middle lodger first smiled to his friends with a shake of the head and then looked at Gregor again. Instead of driving Gregor out, his father seemed to think it more needful to begin by soothing down the lodgers, although they were not at all agitated and apparently found Gregor more entertaining than the violin-playing.
He hurried towards them and, spreading out his arms, tried to urge them back into their own room and at the same time to block their view of Gregor. They now began to be really a little angry, one could not tell whether because of the old man's behavior or because it had just dawned on them that all unwittingly they had such a neighbor as Gregor next door.
They demanded explanations of his father, they waved their arms like him, tugged uneasily at their beards, and only with reluctance backed towards their room. Meanwhile Gregor's sister, who stood there as if lost when her playing was so abruptly broken off, came to life again, pulled herself together all at once after standing for a while holding violin and bow in nervelessly hanging hands and staring at her music, pushed her violin into the lap of her mother, who was still sitting in her chair fighting asthmatically for breath, and ran into the lodgers' room to which they were now being shepherded by her father rather more quickly than before.
One could see the pillows and blankets on the beds flying under her accustomed fingers and being laid in order. Before the lodgers had actually reached their room she had finished making the beds and slipped out. The old man seemed once more to be so possessed by his mulish self-assertiveness that he was forgetting all, the respect he should show to his lodgers.
He kept driving them on and driving them on until in the very door of the bedroom the middle lodger stamped his foot loudly on the floor and so brought him to a halt. Naturally I won't pay you a penny for the days I have lived here, on the contrary I shall consider bringing an action for damages against you, based on claims-believe me-that will be easily susceptible of proof.
In fact his two friends at once rushed into the breach with these words: Gregor's father, groping with his hands, staggered forward and fell into his chair; it looked as if he were stretching himself there for his ordinary evening nap, but the marked jerkings of his head, which was as if uncontrollable, showed that he was far from asleep.
Gregor had simply stayed quietly all the time on the spot where the lodgers had espied him. Disappointment at the failure of his plan, perhaps also the weakness arising from extreme hunger, made it impossible for him to move. He feared, with a fair degree of certainty, that at any moment the general tension would discharge itself in a combined attack upon him, and he lay waiting. He did not react even to the noise made by the violin as it fell off his mother's lap from under her trembling fingers and gave out a resonant note. Perhaps you don't realize that, but I do. I won't utter my brother's name in the presence of this creature, and so all I say is: We've tried to look after it and to put up with it as far as is humanly possible, and I don't think anyone could reproach us in the slightest.
His mother, who was still choking for lack of breath, began to cough hollowly into her hand with a wild look in her eyes. His sister rushed over to her and held her forehead. His father's thoughts seemed to have lost their vagueness at Grete's words, he sat more upright, fingering his service cap that lay among the plates still lying on the table from the lodgers' supper, and from time to time looked at the still form of Gregor.
When one has to work as hard as we do, all of us, one can't stand this continual torment at home on top of it. At least I can't stand it any longer. Gregor's sister merely shrugged her shoulders to indicate the feeling of helplessness that had now overmastered her during her weeping fit, in contrast to her former confidence. But as it is-". How do you portray a man who turns into a giant insect on stage? Plays, operas and even ballet productions have done it using everything from distorted sets to animation to buckets and buckets of brown slime.
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A Japanese theater company did away with the bug motif altogether and made Gregor a robot. In an introduction to a recent translation of The Metamorphosis , Cronenberg wrote that he thought of Kafka specifically when he wrote this line for the unlucky Seth Brundle played by Jeff Goldblum: But now the dream is over, and the insect is awake. Can you imagine a more ideal voice for such a surreal story? The Sherlock actor read the novella in its entirety to celebrate its th anniversary.
Sadly, the broadcast is no longer available for free on the BBC's site , but you can find it here. Newly discovered documents found in the UK's National Archives reveal that William Shakespeare's father was in deep legal and financial trouble for most of the Bard's childhood, according to The Guardian. The 21 documents, previously unknown to scholars, were discovered in the archives by University of Roehampton Shakespeare historian Glyn Parry during the course of his research for a book about the playwright's early life.
Records had previously shown that William Shakespeare 's father, John, an entrepreneur , landlord, and occasional politician, was in trouble with the law during the playwright's youth. He was accused of illegal money lending and wool trading without a license wool was highly taxed at the time, making it a valuable smuggled good between and , when the young William was between around 5 and 8 years old. Scholars assumed that John settled the cases out of court, but these new documents show that his legal woes lasted much longer—up until at least —which no doubt contributed to William 's worldview and the topics he wrote about in his plays.
Parry discovered the documents by poring over the National Archives' trove of historical material related to Britain's Exchequer, or royal treasury. He found record of John Shakespeare's debts and writs against him, including ones authorizing sheriffs to arrest him and seize his property for the Queen as punishment for his crimes.
However, I mostly notice how Samsa's a big frickin' beetle and his family pretends he doesn't exist. There's some absurdist humor at the beginning. Samsa's first thoughts upon finding out he's a beetle is how he's going to miss work. Now, I'm as dedicated to my job as most people but if I woke up to find myself a giant beetle, I don't think I'd have to mull over the decision to take a personal day or two. Aside from that, the main thing that sticks out is what a bunch of bastards Samsa's family is. He's been supporting all of them for years in his soul-crushing traveling salesman job and now they're pissed that they have to carry the workload.
It's not like Gregor's sitting on the couch drinking beer while they're working. He's a giant damn beetle! Cut him some slack. All kidding aside, the ending is pretty sad. Samsa felt like a prick later. The Metamorphosis gets four stars, primarily for being so strange and also because it's the ancestor of many weird or bizarro tales that came afterwords. It's definitely worth an hour or two of your time.
View all 31 comments. View all 41 comments. The author shows the struggle of human existence- the problem of living in modern society- through the narrator. Gregor Samsa wakes in his bed and discovers he has transformed into a some kind of a giant bug; he struggles to find what actually has happened to him, he looks around his small room and everything looks normal to him however it gets a weird feeling it may not be so.
He tries to roll over and go back to sleep in order to forget about what has happened, but because of the shape of his back, he can only rock from side to side. Gregor gets used to his insect body and his family feeds him mainly the wrong things, but they don't care and removes furniture from his room so that he can freely move around and climb the walls. But they don't want to see his ugly form, he is confined to his room, and usually hides under the sofa when his sister enters with his food, to spare her sensibilities in contrast to the sweetly human insect Gregor, his sister is not considerate at all, but increasingly antagonistic and cruel ; his brutish father chases him back by throwing apples at him when he once comes out.
The family members also have to take jobs for they can no longer sponge off the successful son. And the situation breaks down, and the family disintegrates. The problem of alienation is explored to depth in the novella- Gregor become insect and behaviour of his family members change towards him, he may transformed to something unusual at the core he is still the same however he faces problem of acceptance by society due to his transformed appearance.
The novella raises some very basic and profound questions of human existence- alienation, identity, being. Kafka questions all our presuppositions of life- success, social position, money, that a healthy life is characterized by a steadily improving standard of living and a socially-acceptable appearance which we think matter most- through Gregor's metamorphosis. These presuppositions of our life pose more serious questions- which are very chilly and which can rip us apart from any sense of our inauthentic existence. The author robs Gregor-the protagonist- of every sense of his inauthentic existence by stealing off all assumptions of his life, now he is striped down to the very core of his existence.
The protagonist is encountered with basic problems of human existence- what it takes to be? Was the socially-acceptable persona in fact ourselves, or is there more essential self-ness in the being we have now become? Or have we, in fact, been nobody in the first place, and are we nobody still? Gregor Samsa can make us think more deeply about our own identity, about the fluidity of what we take to be stable and fixed, and about the perils and miracles of our own metamorphoses.
Kafka shows us that how the values of conventional society are warped due to our inability to look beyond the surface to the human being inside. View all 37 comments. View all 59 comments. When my ex-husband went out one evening from unsettling dreams of how faraway his wife was, he went out drinking and whoring. Next morning he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.
Much he knew it though. None of his friends recognised it, in fact they preferred the cockroach to the person he had been and he had a great time. When it was time for him to come home, armour-plated as he was he crushed his wife underfoot well fists and kicks, but same t A paraphrase. When it was time for him to come home, armour-plated as he was he crushed his wife underfoot well fists and kicks, but same thing. Unlike Kafka's poor cockroach whom no one could come to terms with and is destroyed by their ultimate hatred of creepy, crawly insects that roam the house, my ex was embraced by all and became the most popular party person.
Although at one stage I did have to fight off a woman who was swinging her handbag at me and tell a Spanish prostitute that my husband's unwanted attentions were no business of mine. The moral of the story is that there is more than one type of human cockroach and Kafka only wrote about one. It's all in the shell, if you are ugly, big, brown and with six legs you are hated.
But handsome, big brown and with only two, you are adored. Read this book back in and loved it. Social isolation for visible or invisible characterists reverberated with me, as did the cold gang mentality that rules once each has identified itself as a sympathetic member. View all 63 comments.
May 31, Mohammed Arabey rated it really liked it. It's very sad story indeed, imagine that you become a burden on your family for unknowing, incurable sickness ,after you've been the sole support for your family I've read Kafka's letters ,and with some of his real life sad story, He is a Metamorphosis himself I felt it's not necessary a True Bug, it may be a sickness of the long time traveling and full time working, it may be just nervous breakdown or some other psychological illness..
It's a story about Feeling for me.. And note that the original early edition's cover there's no an Actual Bug ,as well as most of the early ones. I won't spoil it for you But read it and try to put yourself in the position of Samsa, and that's very easy since Kafka's writing style here is very easy yet very classic well written. I felt how much he'd been longing for warm time with the family that hard work always kept him away of that I felt how hard for his family to accept him.. I felt how this "metamorphosis" progress even made him a bit better from inside, As when he learn how to taste the music -while he mention he didn't like it before I felt very sad for the family..
And the rating is up from 3. I am now reading The Metamorphosis at jome and find it bad. Great antipathy to "Metamorphosis. Imperfect almost to the foundation. It would have turned out much better if I had not been interrupted at the time by the business trip. May God Bless your soul. Since I've read a pages edition of a 50 pages only novel, I Know how it feels to read long rant about a novel, It's Kinda boring..
So I've tried to make my review short View all 10 comments. Dec 27, Nikki rated it it was amazing Shelves: Gregor waking up one morning as a bug was a hilarious analogy of the effects an illness can have on someone, as well as on those who are close to him. Though the underlying story behind the hilarity of the analogy was anything but funny.
I took it as more of a warning of what NOT to do when a loved-one is afflicted by some unfortunate disease or circumstance. I found his resistance of acknowledging to himself that he had become a bug in the beginning of the story to be very interesting. When he Gregor waking up one morning as a bug was a hilarious analogy of the effects an illness can have on someone, as well as on those who are close to him. When he couldn't ignore his state any longer, he looked to others' reactions as to how he would look at his own condition.
As he was trying to unlock his bedroom door to let his parents and supervisor in, he thought, "If they took fright, then Gregor would have no further responsibility and could rest in peace. But if they took it all calmly, then he had no reason to get excited either and he could, if he hurried, actually be at the station by eight. He became completely ashamed of himself, striving to completely hide himself from view, though it took great effort and pain on his part to do so.
His imprisonment, or rather, his confinement from the company of others, had a devastating affect upon his mental well-being and in turn, affected his physical well-being. Such a sad story and the fact that his family didn't feel remorse for their actions, but relief for themselves at his death I don't believe Kafka was trying to say this is how humans are indubitably, even though most of them try to put on a show of galantry and higher morals. But that humans certainly can become some of the most self-serving, self-centered creatures on Earth.
It serves as a warning to us all that while it is good to allow others to serve us from time to time, it is far better to always serve others. Gregor's family had all become accustomed to being taken care of by him. They didn't even mind that he was held in servitude to pay off their debts. This was made evident when the fact was made known that Gregor's father had been saving up extra money earned by Gregor, when it could have been used to pay for his freedom much sooner.
Gregor, on the other hand, had been serving his family and loved them purely because of it. His first thought was not of himself, but of the hardship his condition would cause his family. So lest we fall into such an ugly state of existence, let us guard ourselves by serving those we love, thus loving more those we serve. View all 20 comments. He is fool by spending his life to them; nobody would care if he became an ugly Metamorphosis!!
Let's declare it directly honestly; that each relationship lacks of equality, would be definitely eroded as time goes by. People give their impressive needs a trickery terms. Take a lesson from novel's main character "Gregor Samsa". May be his sister took responsibility and commitment to him, as they say "Intimacy doesn't be ignored except by sons of Prostitution".
My friend, how long will you accept building your relationship with them on their sympathy and kindness, and on their temporary feel of commitment? My friend, I don't satisfy with such a poor relationship for you, so please, don't be okay with that for yourself. View all 19 comments. Die Verwandlung is a novella written by Franz Kafka which was first published in Aug 13, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing. Up until the very end, the entire tale takes place in an apartment of a mother, father, son and daughter.
The son is unfortunately unable to continue to perform his job as a traveling salesman and support his family financially. This abrupt change forces the father, mother and daughter to exert more energy in their lives and take steps to earn money. Here is a word about each member of the family: The Father — At the beginning of the tale he is too worn out to even stand up straight and walk across the apartment without pausing. At the end, he stands up straight, combs his white hair neatly, wears a uniform smartly in his new job working for a bank and can take charge of family situations and challenges with authority.
The Mother — At the outset, she is weak and helpless. At the end, she does the household cooking and helps support her family through taking in sewing. The Daughter — A wan stay-at-home at the beginning and a healthy out-in-the-world worker at the end. At the very end, this 17 year-old blossoms into an attractive young lady, a real catch for some lucky guy. Gregor is transformed into a monstrous verminous bug and all he and his mother and father and sister can ask is: Why does his family assume Gregor lost his human mind?
If they wanted, they could simply ask him questions to find out. This speaks volumes about how people are too narrow in their thinking to deal with life creatively and with imagination. This combination of these opposites is a stroke of genius. View all 29 comments. Gregor Samsa awakes from a bad dream, into a mad nightmare, as he struggles, stuck in his own bed this weary, young traveling salesman, has overnight been miraculously transformed He has missed his train in more ways than one, but Samsa, is a real trooper, still thinks he can catch the locomotive and make that vile business trip, eventually getting off the bed with great difficulty, just a Gregor Samsa awakes from a bad dream, into a mad nightmare, as he struggles, stuck in his own bed this weary, young traveling salesman, has overnight been miraculously transformed He has missed his train in more ways than one, but Samsa, is a real trooper, still thinks he can catch the locomotive and make that vile business trip, eventually getting off the bed with great difficulty, just a slight crash, in truth, opening the locked door somehow and moving around on the floor, in his many, new, ugly little legs the parents and sister are greatly shocked, at his new repulsive appearance.