Metamorphosis Eating Scene
In Kafka’s afflicting yet accepting novelette, Metamorphosis, Grete enters Gregor’s bedroom to find that he has not finished the fresh milk and bread that Grete brought in the day before. She returns to Gregor with a newspaper full of different foods that she knew Gregor would possibly like. Kafka presents the affined feelings Grete has towards Gregor after seeing him as this “monstorous vermin,” emphasizing his fate later in the novelette, using foreshadowing and symbolism during this dinner scene.
Even while everyone in the family, even Grete, is disgusted and ashamed of what they see- Gregor the bug, Grete still decides to feed and clean Gregor and his room daily. When she returns to Gregor with the newspaper full of food in her hands, Gregor sees she’s gathered up all the foods and meals he realized he really liked: Moldy cheese that Gregor wasn’t fond of when it was fresh, half-rotten vegetables, leftover scraps from dinner that evening, bread, and water.
Kafka uses the rotten food to symbolize the feelings that Gregor has already felt, the transformation he’s going through both literally and internally. Rotten produce symbolizes decay and excess, emphasizing not only Gregor accepting his death (though not actually dying or dead), but also going deeper into the novelette, Gregor’s family also decaying themselves. Which explains Grete’s own tolerance and “love” for Gregor decaying throughout the novelette. Kafka did indeed imply sympathy and affinity into this scene while foreshwadowing to show the transformation later in the novelette, where we witness Grete growing tired and more and more disgusted by Gregor until she finally stopped caring all together.
The food given to Gregor in this scene did indeed symbolize sympathy. The fact that he didn’t like the taste of fresh milk and bread and preferred rotten, old, foul-tasting foods foreshadowed Gregor’s fate: Death and decay. Gregor was accepting life for what it was, and what it was always going to be by eating these rotten, decaying meals. Gregor was literally devouring rotten and old. He was eating decay, and in his case, his own decay. Grete handing him such meals showed that she knew what Gregor was; disgusting and worthless, and the fact he accepted it made it moreso for him in her eyes.
How I edited my essay!
2.) Book titles are italicized when typed and underlined when written. -Thank you, Gates! Without Word, I wouldn’t have been able to click on that pretty “I” sitting in my toolbar! Seriously though, this was a simple mistake that’s oddly enough, easily forgotten.
3.) Take note of the prompt: An eating scene is common in drama and fiction. It may be a simple meal or a banquet, a holiday party or ordinary family dinner, but the work would not be quite the same without it. Kafka’s novel contains such a scene(s) of eating. Write an essay in which you discuss what the scene reveals, how the scene is related to the meaning of the work as a whole, and by what means (devices) the author makes the scene effective. o Did you ignore literary devices altogether and just discuss themes of the book? (Without literary devices, your score will not surpass a “4”)
o Did you ignore the prompt completely and talk about the book? o Did you commit the literary crime of (gasp!) summary? -It’s a bad habit, that really needs to be broken. It’s been embedded in our heads to summarize back in middle school and even freshmen year. Not reading the prompt carefully is also a habit that is in need of some serious breaking. Like serious bone-breaking, heart-ripping, heart-eating, heart-pooping-out-and-flushing-in-the-toilet type violence. This was my main problem, and I really hope I improved on it!
4.) Does your thesis make it clear that you would be addressing how Kafka uses literary devices in an eating scene from Metamorphosis to reveal meaning in that scene? Did your thesis end asserting how the meaning in that scene is related to the meaning of the novella? -This wasn’t marked on my Turnitin GradeMark, but I feel that I had failed on my thesis. I didn’t really address what my essay was going to be about, I just went right into it. I didn’t even take my essay out to dinner yet, I just asked it for 3rd base. It backfired, I was slapped in the face by my essay and it left this “60” mark on my cheek. Then it dumped me. I hope my new essay sticks around, maybe I’ll give it a tattoo that says “70” with a heart on it. I love my essay fiveever. That’s more than forever.
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