The Metamorphosis Teaching Guide
- 10 pages
- Subject: Allusion, Character Analysis, Historical Context, Plot, Symbols, Themes, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
- Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12
So you’re going to teach The Metamorphosis. Whether it’s your first or hundredth time, this classic text has been a mainstay of English classrooms for generations for its unusual premise and existential angst. While it has its problematic spots, teaching this text to your class will be rewarding for you and your students. It will give them unique insight into absurdist literature, familial alienation, and Kafka’s far-reaching legacy.
About This Document
Owl Eyes teaching guides have been designed to help first-time and veteran teachers open up classic works of literature for their students. Our guides provide rich background information, identify key themes and topics, and offer creative and practical approaches to teaching the text.
The main components of each guide include the following:
- A concise history of the text
- An explanation of significant allusions
- Teaching approaches and discussion questions
- Tricky issues to address while teaching
- Alternative teaching approaches
- A list of complementary texts
These teaching guides offer valuable context and promote meaningful discussions about novels, plays, poems, and stories that have captivated English Language Arts students for generations. Each guide is comprehensive and concise, thought-provoking and practical.
Approaches and Discussion Questions Excerpt
Life’s Absurdity Is Inescapable as Theme: Throughout the whole story, there is no talk of anyone’s—Gregor or his family—trying to find some way to turn Gregor back into a human being. The family’s reactions range from aghast repulsion to irritated tolerance, but there’s no impetus to figure out what caused Gregor’s transformation or methods to reverse it. Instead, they simply adapt, with varying degrees of success, to the impossible. The characters do not acknowledge the inherent absurdity of a man’s waking up to discover he’s an insect; his transformation is regarded as the result of chance more than anything else. Because of this lack of explanation and exploration into Gregor’s condition, Kafka suggests that absurd events in life are unavoidable and must be dealt with rather than overcome or reversed.
- For discussion: How do each of the family members react to Gregor’s transformation at the beginning of the story? How do their reactions change throughout, and what do they suggest about their attitudes toward Gregor? What about Gregor himself—what are his main concerns regarding his transformation?
Additional Discussion Questions:
- Is Gregor’s transformation literal or metaphorical? Both? What evidence supports your opinion?
- Who or what is to blame for Gregor’s transformation? Why?
- Why does Kafka leave the details of Gregor’s appearance to the imagination?