July 23: Final Class on Kafka

the_metamorphosis_by_jezabel7There’s always something a little bit sad about the last class of the semester. I’m leaving for a relaxing summer vacation, and the men are… stuck exactly where they always are. In a normal academic environment, the summer is a time for renewal and regeneration – metamorphosis, in fact – but at JCI all seasons are pretty much the same.

This week we discussed Part III of the story, and ended up having a long debate about whether or not “insect” Gregor bore any physical resemblance to “human” Gregor. Some of the men imagined “insect” Gregor to have “human” Gregor’s face, which isn’t something described by Kafka. I thought is was probably their own projection on to the story.   The men were especially interested in analyzing the story’s “final meaning,” especially the significance of the three bearded lodgers (the “three wise men,” as Mr. Drummond referred to them). We also discussed how, once Gregor is dead, his parents are referred to as “Mr. and Mrs. Samsa” instead of “the Mother and the father. Mr. Luskey suggested this may be due to the fact that they are no longer figures in Gregor’s narrative – in fact, now Gregor is only a figure in the narrative of others – people, indeed, just like us.


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