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Thread: Incestuous undertones in The Metamorphosis?

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Incestuous undertones in The Metamorphosis?

    Does Gregor's relationship with his sister have undertones? There's parts on page 36 that seem like they might indicate that.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    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.
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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    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.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    "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.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    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?

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelby_lake View Post
    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.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Executioner, protect me Kyriakos's Avatar
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    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.

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    Registered User kelby_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    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.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyriakos View Post
    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?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Executioner, protect me Kyriakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    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.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyriakos View Post
    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.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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    ancient atoms hypatia_'s Avatar
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    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
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

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    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    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.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

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    Seems pretty innocent to me too. It's okay to kiss your sister . . . right?

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    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin23000 View Post
    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.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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