Reading Guide – The Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka READING GUIDE QUESTIONS


PRE-READING: Think about modern day examples of isolation and societal outcasts in society. What are the causes of isolation? Why do people feel like outcasts? Please respond.


What is metamorphosis? In ways do people experience a metamorphosis?


Chapter 1 (pages 3-19)

Paragraph #1 introduces the main conflict; what is the main conflict?


What is Gregor’s job?


What photo is hung in Gregor’s room? What does this say about him?


What is the story’s setting?


Are there any details provided about the outside of the Samsas’ apartment?


What does Gregor’s room tell about Gregor?


How does Gregor feel about his job?


What is Gregor’s role in the family? What was his life like?


Why does Gregor have so much responsibility?


What is Gregor’s initial reaction to his metamorphosis into an insect?


What is Gregor most concerned with?


If he calls in sick, what will happen? 


When his mother knocks on the door, what is Gregor’s reply?


What does his voice sound like?


Who comes to the house? Why?


To prove that her son lives a quiet life, Gregor’s mother tells the clerk that Gregor spent two or three evenings doing what?


What does the office manager reveal about Gregor’s recent work?


Gregor wants to open the door and reveal himself to his family and co-worker; Gregor thought that their reaction to his new state would do what?


What does the father do when Gregor won’t open the door?


Can the family understand Gregor?


How do the family members and the office manager react to Gregor’s new appearance?


What happens when Gregor leaves his room to meet the office manager?



Gregor, in trying to stop the clerk from leaving, realized that his family believed Gregor’s job at the firm was what?



From Gregor’s point of view, what might be some of the positive aspects of this metamorphosis?


Why did Kafka (the author) have Gregor change into a dung beetle?


What circumstances in Gregor’s life might have cased him to feel dehumanized even before his metamorphosis took place?


What does the following quote mean? “Gregor’s father breakfast was the most important meal of the day and he would stretch it out for hours while reading a number of newspapers” (20).


Kafka states in the narrative, “He felt that he was once more drawn into the circle of humanity and hoped for magnificent and surprising achievements…” (19) This was when Gregor was locked in his room and heard the family looking for help for him. What does this statement mean?



Chapter 2 (pages 20- 37)

How does Gregor react to the food grete leaves for him?


What does this reaction say about Gregor?


Why was Gregor proud that his family leads a “quiet life”?


As Gregor explores the house at night, what overall feeling does he experience?


Where is Gregor most comfortable?


When Grete sees Gregor under the couch, what is her reaction?


Grete comes into the room twice a day; what is Gregor’s view (opinion of) these visits?


What does he think Grete’s thinking?


Describe how and what Gregor eats.


What is the Samsa family situation now?


What did the father, mother, and sister usually do in the afternoons? What does this reveal to the reader?


Gregor knows the family cannot understand him; however, he realizes that they do not know that Gregor can understand them, Why is this important to the story?


What request did the servant make? How does this affect the family?


How does Gregor’s sister Grete treat Gregor?


How do the parents treat Gregor?


What is Gregor’s dream for Grete?


What is the importance/significance of Grete and Gregor’s relationship?


How does Gregor entertain himself?


What kind of changes does Gregor notice in his father?


How has the mother changed?


What does Gregor’s father reveal about the family’s financial status?


What is Gregor’s reaction to this news about the family’s finances?


What do we learn in this section about Gregor’s job?


How does Gregor feel about Grete cleaning the room?


What signs does he look for when Grete comes in to clean?


How have the parents’ attitudes toward Grete changed?


How did Gregor react to his mother being in the room?


What is the mother’s reaction to the furniture being moved out?


What did Gregor realize from listening to his mother?


How long has Gregor been a dung beetle? (32)


Why doesn’t Gregor want his furniture moved out? How does he initially react? (34)


Why does Gregor change his mind about the furniture being moved out?


When was the first time the mother came into the room?


What does the desk represent to Gregor?


What did Gregor try to save? Why?


What were the first words Grete spoke directly to Gregor since his transformation?


When the father arrives home, what is Gregor’s reaction? Why?


What did Grete tell the father?


Gregor notices how the father has changed; what are these changes (36)?


How is Gregor wounded?


How does the mother react to the father’s rage? What was the mother try to do?


Chapter 3 (pages 38-55)

What are the effects of the wound Gregor suffered at the end of the previous section?


How has the family changed during these three months of this transformation?


How does Gregor’s family try to make life seem “normal” for them?


What prevents the family from moving to a smaller apartment?


How do the Samsas try to manage financially?


What was Gregor’s daily life like?


How has Gregor’s attitude towards his family changed?


How has Grete’s treatment of Gregor changed?


What changes take place in Gregor’s room?


Who is the only person not repelled by Gregor? Why?


What is Gregor’s attitude toward the roomers?


How do the roomers change life for the Samsas?


How does Gregor react to Grete’s playing the violin?


What do the roomers threaten to leave?


How do the Samsas react to the roomers’ threats?


What announcement does Grete make to her parents? (48)


What is Grete’s reaction to Gregor now?


What are the signs that Gregor’s physical condition is worsening?


When Gregor returns to his room, what does Grete do? (50-51)


Describe Gregor’s death. The narrator suggests that Gregor starved himself to death, but what other forces might have led to his death?


How does each family member react to Gregor’s death?


How did the cleaning woman and the Samsas then interact?


Why did the cleaning woman leave?


Why did Mr. Samsa say he will fire her tonight?


What did the family do the day Gregor died? (54) Why?


What do the Samsas plan to do at the end of the story? Why?


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