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View Full Version : Incestuous undertones in The Metamorphosis?



kelby_lake
10-17-2010, 02:16 PM
Does Gregor's relationship with his sister have undertones? There's parts on page 36 that seem like they might indicate that.

Virgil
10-17-2010, 02:20 PM
Does Gregor's relationship with his sister have undertones? There's parts on page 36 that seem like they might indicate that.

No I don't think so. He's close to his sister but not in that way. Where do you see anything suggesting sexual?

We just read this for the Short Story club reading here last month I think. You might want to go to the thread and see what people had to say on the story in general.

kelby_lake
10-17-2010, 04:15 PM
No I don't think so. He's close to his sister but not in that way. Where do you see anything suggesting sexual?


"He would never again let her out of his room...he would be at all the doors of his room at the same time and hiss at spit at the agressors; his sister, however, should not be forced to stay with him but would do so of her own free will... [then he imagines telling her about his dream to send her to the Conservatory] After this declaration his sister would burst into tears of emotion, and Gregor would raise himself up to her shoulder and kiss her on the neck..."

I think the suggestion is that the incest is a brief fantasy, probably linked to his masochism.

Virgil
10-17-2010, 09:28 PM
"He would never again let her out of his room...he would be at all the doors of his room at the same time and hiss at spit at the agressors; his sister, however, should not be forced to stay with him but would do so of her own free will... [then he imagines telling her about his dream to send her to the Conservatory] After this declaration his sister would burst into tears of emotion, and Gregor would raise himself up to her shoulder and kiss her on the neck..."

I think the suggestion is that the incest is a brief fantasy, probably linked to his masochism.

The only part of that that might be construed as sexual is the kiss on the neck. And I still think it's innocent enough. There's nothing else in the story that would corroborate an incestual feelings. Unless I missed it. For a theme to exist it can't just be one vague mention. It has to be fleshed out, no pun intended. :wink5:

kelby_lake
10-19-2010, 11:08 AM
Apparantly one critic says Gregor's a masochist and the passage is basically a fantasy he can torture himself with.

Also, is the fact that Gregor liked milk important? Does milk symbolise something?

Virgil
10-19-2010, 10:28 PM
Apparantly one critic says Gregor's a masochist and the passage is basically a fantasy he can torture himself with.

Also, is the fact that Gregor liked milk important? Does milk symbolise something?

I didn't take the milk as a symbol of anything. It's something one would naturally give to a pet. There's something to the masochist theory. There seems to be a suggestion of that. I still don't think that passage is a incestuous fantasy. I take it as Gregor as feeling vulnerable and the only person he feels he can depend on is his sister. That's why it's so ironic when she insitgates getting rid of him. The person he most depended on turns on him.

Kyriakos
10-20-2010, 06:50 AM
Whether or not it was consciously meant as incestuous (i doubt it was) it has to be said that Kafka does give the impression of someone who was troubled by quilt, which could have had its origins to forgotten incestuous thoughts/actions.

kelby_lake
10-20-2010, 02:25 PM
I didn't take the milk as a symbol of anything. It's something one would naturally give to a pet. There's something to the masochist theory. There seems to be a suggestion of that. I still don't think that passage is a incestuous fantasy. I take it as Gregor as feeling vulnerable and the only person he feels he can depend on is his sister. That's why it's so ironic when she insitgates getting rid of him. The person he most depended on turns on him.

It has been re-evaluated by me as non-incestuous but still manipulative and masochistic. Grete is extending her love (or will be) to other blokes, not Gregor.

Virgil
10-20-2010, 09:02 PM
Whether or not it was consciously meant as incestuous (i doubt it was) it has to be said that Kafka does give the impression of someone who was troubled by quilt, which could have had its origins to forgotten incestuous thoughts/actions.

Forgotten? I have no idea what you mean.

Should any kiss by a brother to a sister be interpreted as incestuous?

Kyriakos
10-24-2010, 06:26 AM
Forgotten? I have no idea what you mean.

Should any kiss by a brother to a sister be interpreted as incestuous?

I mean repressed :)
And i did not have in mind a kiss, but something a lot more sexual.

It is one theory about the origins of Kafka's infamous self-hatred.

Virgil
10-24-2010, 09:58 AM
I mean repressed :)
And i did not have in mind a kiss, but something a lot more sexual.

It is one theory about the origins of Kafka's infamous self-hatred.

Oh I don't know much about his life. Frankly all those psycho-babble theories are mostly useless. :wink5:

hypatia_
05-24-2013, 04:13 PM
i think it is drawing at straws, but part of it is me just not wanting to believe that there can be any sense of a negative aspect in the character of gregor :P

Delta40
05-24-2013, 06:34 PM
It's possible that Gregor having exposed himself and received such a terrible reaction from his parents, his sister felt like she was the link which would hold the family together - at least initially. Gregor's kiss could be read as an expression of this gratefulness, as if she were the only one making such an effort.

justin23000
07-09-2013, 12:53 AM
Seems pretty innocent to me too. It's okay to kiss your sister . . . right?

cacian
07-09-2013, 04:17 AM
Seems pretty innocent to me too. It's okay to kiss your sister . . . right?

on the neck precisely? i am sure there are better places one could exchange kisses and hugs to express sibling affections. a neck is rather vampireish merging on something else.
oh and it depends what you mean by innocent.