What are People For?

Module 17 Overview

Essential Questions

How do we define ourselves in relationship to self/family/society?
How do we determine if we are ‘good?’
What tools or techniques does a writer use to illustrate their characters?
How do readers infer author’s intended message/meaning?

How would Kafka feel about Kuper?

When Kafka’s original publisher wanted to show a picture of the “monstrous” creature on the book’s title page in order to appeal to fans of horror fiction, Kafka refused to allow any pictures showing what Gregor had been transformed into. Hartmut Binder writes that “Kafka had learned that the illustrator Ottomar Starke had been commissioned to draw a title-page illustration. For this reason on October 25, 1915, he wrote to his publisher:

It struck me that Starke, as an illustrator, might want to draw the insect itself. Not that, please not that! I do not want to restrict him, but only to make this plea out of my deepest knowledge of the story. The insect cannot be depicted. It cannot even be shown from a distance. Perhaps there is no such intention and my plea can be dismissed with a smile—so much the better. But I would be very grateful if you would pass along my request and make it more emphatic. If I were to offer suggestions for an illustration, I would choose such scenes as the following: the parents and the head clerk in front of the locked door, or even better, the parents and the sister in the lighted room, with the door open upon the adjoining room that lies in darkness.”

Sweeney, Kevin W. "‘You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Loves You’: Communication and the Social Destruction of Subjectivity in Kafka’s Metamorphosis." Philosophy and Kafka. Ed. Brendan Moran and Carlo Salzani. Lanham: Lexington, 2013. 95-108. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 193. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. Literature Resource Center. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.

Herr Blevins

on Die Verwandlung,

More on Kafka's Accurate Foreshadowing...

"Those who succumb to the temptation to read the story symbolically, perhaps as a metaphysical allegory, soon find themselves in a maze of contradictions. What remains real about Kafka's story, however, is the moment of pain when Gregor understands that he is no longer himself, a person, but a thing. At that point, concentrating into a single moment Kafka's acute insight into the human condition, which for the Jews of Prague would soon become an inescapable fate, the story stops being a joke, metaphysical, psychoanalytical, or otherwise."

Klingenstein, Susanne. "The Metamorphosis: Overview." Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

Keep in Mind...

  • Note Gregor's physical changes in this chapter, as well as his behavioral ones.
  • Which characters are changing? Why are they changing? Does it make you like them more or less? Would you call any of these characters 'good' people? Why or why not? Based on the text, do you think they would consider themselves as good people?
  • How have the roles of these characters changed throughout the story? Consider them in relationship to 1) self 2) family and 3) society? In what ways have their roles changed for the better? For the worse?
  • Think about our symbols. Consider how they are changing. Also think about our new symbols.
  • We have some new characters introduced into this chapter. Think about how they are introduced and what role they play in the household.
  • We have a motif related to the number three in this novella. Think about things we've seen in threes. What connections can you make there?

Module 17 Tasks & Suggested Pacing

  1. Module 17 3-2-1 Overview (30 minutes)
  2. Read and annotate Chapter 3 of "The Metamorphosis" (1.5 hours)
  1. Review Chapter 3 of the Graphic Novel (1-1.5 hours)
  1. Kafka Critics' Corner Discussion Board (1-1.5 hours)
  2. Complete Exam Review for Metamorphosis (1-2 hours)


  1. Final Exam (up to 2 hours)

  • OPTIONAL Extra Credit: Franz's Fun Factory (as much time as you'd like to devote)
  • Also, if you contact me to ask if the OPTIONAL extra credit is required, I'm going to say yes. That's right. If you ask whether or not you have to do an OPTIONAL assignment, then you will individually be REQUIRED to complete the previously OPTIONAL task. That's how I roll.

Final Exam Due Friday, May 17 - No Exceptions

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