Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh, but what's in a name

Would a Gregor by any other name be just as sweet?

Out of interest, I decided to look up what the name Gregor actually meant, to see if there was any reason in particular Kafka chose the name Gregor. Perhaps there was irony behind it and it actually derived from bug or something like that, so I looked up the name and found this: "Gregor is derived from Gregorius in Latin which comes from Gregorios in Greek which means 'watchful or alert'". Sadly, the name did not come with a hidden pun or something like that; however, I do see a possible meaning with bugs having to constantly be watchful and alert, lest they wish to get smushed by a human. Much like a human must also be vigilant that they do not fall victim to oppression and abuse by others trying to take advantage of them, especially in an age of industrialization. Could this perhaps be a hint at the suppression of the proletariat? Who knows! That's the great thing about literature, 2 + 2 does not equal 4, but it equals what we say it equals.

2 comments:

Ross said...

Perhaps there is another meaning to watchful and alert that we could assume, even though it is extremely simple and most likely balderdash. Think back to Gregor's position in his family. He is the only worker, probably the most responsible of the four, and, most importantly, brings home the bacon. But why does Gregor do all of this for his family? Simply because he is selfless and cares a great deal for them. He watches out for them and ensures that they can survive. He could also be considered alert because, when he sees that his sister has interest in the musical arts, he supports her and vows to send her to a school for her talent.

Tiffany Tavassoli said...

I think that the meaning "alert or watchful" could definitely hold meaning in respect to how Gregor is. Like Ross said, I think that since Gregor is the only one who works in his family, his constant and strong work ethic, lead him to always be alert. As someone who never took the time for himself and only worked for the well being of others, he forced himself to constantly be in the state of awareness and alertness. The adjectives alert and watchful describe how Gregor is with other people and how he treats them, but it does not describe the way he thinks or treat himself. Also, when Gregor turns into a beetle, he is always so observant and alert about what his family members are saying and what they think of them. He listened by the door to hear his family's observations, and when his sister would come into the room, he would always question what she was thinking. He is always alert and watchful about what others think of him.