The text: The Metamorphosis.pdf

A poem with thematic connections: "The Unknown Citizen"

The Metamorphosis OPE options.pdf

Historical connections to explore:
  • existentialism (Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky)
  • surrealism (Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali)
  • World War I
  • industrialization
  • capitalism

Discussion Questions:
Part 1
  • What causes Gregor’s metamorphosis?
Part 2
  • How/Why does Gregor become alienated from his family?
  • How/Why does Gregor attempt to retain his humanity?
  • How/Why do(does) the sister, mother, and father change?
Part 3
  • How is the family depicted in the final section? Why are they depicted this way?
  • Why does the sister’s behavior toward Gregor change?
  • How do the family members refer to Gregor in the final section? Why do they refer to him this way?
  • How does the family react to Gregor’s death? Why do they react this way?
Questions for Sections 1-3
  • How and why do Gregor’s family members change over the course of the short story?


Key literary terms:
  • symbolism
  • allegory
  • tone

Key symbols:
  • the form of a bug
  • Gregor's job
  • the weather
  • the apples
  • the picture of a woman
  • the hospital across the street
  • the alarm clock
  • locked doors
  • keys and locked strongbox
  • the milk
  • the windows
  • the father's uniform
  • the three lodgers (their teeth)
  • violin music
  • Gregor's filthy room (part 3)
  • Gregor's flat, dry corpse
  • change in weather (end of part 3)
  • Grete's 'growing up' (end of part 3)

Themes:
  • dangers of alienation
  • meaningful and meaningless work
  • the futile search for significance in life
  • isolation from those one loves
  • dysfunctional family dynamics
  • futility of communication with others