Here we go, with the second to last part of this Evening Read-In, making our way through Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. What strange things will happen to Gregor and his family this week? Let’s listen together and find out…
Below is a synopsis of Part 4 – or, if you like, read along with the text here as we listen.
A month has passed since Gregor’s transformation. He is still visited in his room daily by his sister who continues to carry out work to ensure he is looked after. His parents do not enter the room to see Gregor for themselves, instead relying on his sister Grete to keep them informed.
Gregor’s mother, having expressed a wish to see Gregor, enters his room one day to help Grete remove the furniture, as Grete believes it is hindering Gregor from his new habit of crawling on the walls and ceiling. Gregor hides under his sheet, making sure he is not seen by his mother so as not to alarm her, but is gladdened to simply know that she is there. The two women struggle to move the heavy furniture, with Gregor’s mother expressing uncertainty as to whether they should remove it at all, thinking that it seems like they are abandoning Gregor by doing so. His mother’s reasoning makes Gregor realise that he is swiftly losing his humanity. However, Grete, having acquired new-found confidence, dismisses her mother’s fears and goes on with the plan, leaving the room almost completely bare.
Having become disorientated by the movement in the room and fearful that all of his possessions are being taken from him, Gregor moves onto a picture on the wall – the sole thing left he can claim as his own. Covering it, he is clearly visible on the wall and upon returning to the room, his mother screams out as she sees him. A commotion is caused and Grete shuts Gregor in a room alone. On arriving home, his father asks what happened and Grete informs him that Gregor had got out and their mother had fainted. His father, looking very different to the man Gregor remembers, enters the room Gregor is in. The two begin to move to and fro, Gregor becoming exhausted. An apple rolls on the floor beside Gregor, followed by many others that are thrown purposely at him by his father. His sister and mother become hysterical, his mother begging with his father to spare Gregor’s life.
Due to the attack, Gregor becomes injured and increasingly immobile. He continues to watch and listen to his family while hidden completely from their view, although he notices all of them have become much quieter, all being exhausted from the increased work they have taken on and struggling to maintain the household. Although they wish to move, the family complain that they cannot do so because it would be difficult to transfer Gregor. Gregor finds himself unable to sleep, occupied by thoughts of his family, work and frustration at the increasing lack of attention he is shown.
With Grete taking on more work outside of the house, and his mother unable to do so adequately, the task of looking after Gregor falls to the charwoman, an elderly widow who is not repelled by Gregor – in fact she treats him with an kind of patronising disregard, which Gregor resents. Intending to let her know how much he dislikes her presence, he moves towards her but she is not deterred, hitting his back forcefully with a chair before continuing with her work.
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