Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Devil's Advocate

I don't want to be the depressing one to rain on everyone's parade, but someone has to point this out. Jaclyn said in class earlier today how Gregor is one of the first characters in any story we've ever encountered where he did nothing to deserve his misfortunes. I want to agree because I really like Gregor, but part of me needs to recognize that Gregor brings a lot of this on himself. He allows his family to treat him like an insignificant pest. He doesn't realize he's being taken advantage of and goes out of his way to defend his greedy free-loading family members. His father hid a fortune from Gregor and allowed Gregor to work non-stop for 5+ years to pay off the family debt and all Gregor had to say to that was how great of an idea it was. This sounds bad when you say it out loud but sometimes you just have to think about yourself and your own needs. Gregor shouldn't have been so naive and selfless. I wondered why Gregor was changed into a bug when I read the first sentence of the short story, but now it somewhat makes a little more sense to me. I think there are several interpretations that could solve the mystery, though the reader is not provided with any direct explanation. Perhaps one of the reasons he transformed into a bug specifically is because he allowed himself to be treated like one before the metamorphosis. His physical transformation just points out the fact of the matter.

Why do y'all think Kafka made Gregor a bug instead of some other animal?

4 comments:

master123 said...

It really can't even think of putting the blame of Gregors condition on Gregor, because, like you said, "he does't even realize he is being taken advantage of." How can he fix a problem when he can't even realize it is happening and it is not like Gregor has friend to help him out because he is being worked to the bone because he thinks he needs to support his family. Also I don't think I can blame someone for be too good of a guy, it sounds like an oxymoron.
The translation that we did learn was not specifically a bug, but just a nasty creature, but we humans usually associate this trait with bugs and this is why I think that Gregor is a bug in the translated english version. I also know that the class has rejected that Gregor is a cockroach, but in my mind I still think he is a cockroach, because of the authors name, Kafka. Kafka sounds like the french name for cockroach, cafard.

Jack Zheng said...

I think that Gregor is just a naive and abused victim. While a better understanding of the world would have helped him cut off all ties from his parasitic family (except for his sister), he is simply too loving to leave them. He then willingly works a job that drains his soul and sanity, to pay a debt that he did not create, for people who do not love him.

madison kahn said...

I totally agree with you, Abbey. We've all heard stories about that one person who's too polite and gets him/herself into a situation in which this particular person has too many obligations. The person then feels the stress upon themselves due to the fact that they were unwilling to dissapoint. (For example, remember that episode of "SpongeBob" when he agrees to help Mr. Krabs fix his telescope, to help Sandy with a science project, and to attend Patrick's birthday bash and then he has a breakdown because he can't handle it all???) Well anyway, I think Gregor is, unknowingly or not, too willing to please. Here's another plausible explanation for his automatic acceptance of the metamorphosis I just thought of: maybe Gregor got to the point (like SpongeBob and many others have) when he could no longer handle all the responsibility. In order to escape from his obligations, he willingly accepts the fact that he has become a bug.

Madison Cummings said...

I see where every one is coming from when they call Gregor "ignorant" or "naive" for not noticing or accepting that his family has taken advantage of him, but I do think there is a possibility that he realizes all of this and honestly does not care because he is that good of a person/bug. I think that we all feel negativity and anger towards the family because if we were in the same situation, most of us would probably be pretty angry. But we can't really place that anger inside Gregor just because we feel it. Not once does Gregor complain or express anger towards family. I don't think he is keeping it hidden inside either. I just think that Gregor knows that he has done the right thing, and in the long run, shouldn't that the most important thing? A true selfless person gives without expecting anything back, and I totally think Gregor falls under that category. I think that he is grateful that his family continues to take care of him, but I don't think he feels like he is entitled to that care. I would say he is undeserving of his misfortunes for sure, but what makes Gregor even more likable is that he never pities himself or gets enraged at whatever supernatural force chose to make him a bug specifically. He accepts it, makes the best out of it, and is only concerned of its affects on the others.

I think some people may interpret the fact that he has turned into a bug as a sign of weakness, as we normally think of bugs as meaningless and disposable. But I think that Gregor is quite the opposite, I think he could be considered a better person than all of us for his selfless acts. This story could be a criticism on societies tendency to mislabel people like Gregor as weak and ignorant, as we think that they have just let themselves get taken advantage of, when in fact they are not ignorant of this, but rather do not care because their main concern is doing the right thing and helping others, despite the consequences.