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The Metamorphosis According to Grete


Monday, April 28, 2003

The Metamorphosis According to Grete

I awoke one morning and noticed my brothers door was still locked. I hear my mother knocking on his door and realize he was still home. That lazy brother! I cant believe he hasnt left for work yet! But, perhaps hes sick – he hasnt missed work in five years.

Gregor? Arent you well? Do you need anything?, I ask knocking on his door. I really hope he would get up soon so he could catch the next train and make it to work. He cant get fired, we depend on his money.

Growing impatient from hearing nothing but squeaks, I demand he open up the door, Gregor, open up, I beg you. But he still does not open the door.

It is now a quarter past seven and Gregor is still not up yet. The office manager has come to implore why my brother is late. I hurry back to my room and whisper through the wall, Gregor, the office manager is here.

We have no idea what to tell the office manager since Gregor refuses to let him into the room. I cant believe my brother is doing this! He will surely get fired. And then how will I buy my pretty clothes or eat the expensive sugar cookies? The though of not being able to buy what I want and eat what I please is too much for me to bear and I start crying, genuinely concerned with our financial situation. My mother believes Gregors voice sounds like an animals and Im dispatched to find a doctor.

But upon returning with a doctor, my parents dismiss him curtly. It was then that I learn of the mornings happenings. Out of curiosity, I opened the door to Gregors room and was completely repulsed by the big brown oozing dung beetle sprawled in the middle

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of the room. We all decide to be really quiet because we dont know what this monster will do.

Neither of my parents will come near this beast, so I am obligated to feed it but I refuse to touch this hideous thing. I find it quite fun to have a pet monster. I put some milk and bread into the room theres no point to waste my sugar cookies or meat on this thing.

A few hours later I come back and find the milk and bread untouched. This ungrateful monster wont eat human food; I decide henceforth to treat it like a bug. I return with rotten vegetables and spoiled food I picked out of the garbage. I spread it out on a newspaper and place a bowl of water here for my pet. I am grateful the monster is hiding under the setee because I cant stand to look at it.

And so, I am stuck feeding the hideous thing in Gregors room. After a few hours, I sweep out the food with a broom as fast as possible. I still cant stand to look at that hideous thing.

That evening, my father informs us of our financial situation. He has some money left from his bankrupt business and some more from Gregors earnings saved up. But, since the money would not last us forever, we had to find jobs. I am greatly depressed since I cannot sleep until noon anymore.

The cook soon leaves our house and we also relieve Anna of her duties since we cannot afford to pay them. My mother and I have to clean the house and cook for the three of us.

One day, I come up with a brilliant idea. Since the beetle wouldnt be needing furniture, I decide to clean out his room. This way, I would have an extra wardrobe for

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my clothes and my mother could have an extra table. I convince my mother to help me clean out the room.

Come in, he’s out of sight,” I tell her after I enter the room. Good thing the monster is under the blanket, I still cant stand looking at him. With much effort, we move his wardrobe and desk out of his room.

For some reason, the beast decides to come out and threaten us by hanging on the wall. Mother faints and I rush to get her asthma medications. Unbeknownst to me, it dashes out of the room and follows me into the kitchen and was going to eat me. I drop a bottle of medication and scare him enough to narrowly dash out of the kitchen and lock the door behind me.

Later father comes home and throws apples at the monster because it tried to escape. I am grateful he forces it back into the room. Out of pity, we open the door of the room at night so the beetle can get some light. I would prefer we move into a smaller apartment but since we cant get rid of the dirty thing, we have to live with the burden.

The weeks pass quite uneventfully. Father, mother, and I all get jobs. I find a fairly decent paying job as a sales girl in this local clothing store. The work is exhausting and I have never worked so hard in my life. This beetle in the room has become nothing but a burden to me. Sometimes I forget to feed it, but it doesnt matter, who cares about a beetle monster anyway?

We hire a charwoman who comes by our house mornings and evenings to clean and feed the beetle. I am too encumbered by work to bother with the beetle so she feeds it. We also take on three boarders who prefer the house really neat. I have almost but forgotten about the beetle.

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One day, I am playing my violin, and the boarders invite me to play in the parlor. So I play a beautiful tune for them but somehow the monster creeps out of its room and scares the boarders. I have never been so ashamed and embarrassed in my life!

It has to go!, I proclaimed sobbing. I simply cannot go on living with that beast in the house. Its an embarrassment to have a beetle in the house. And the monster is nothing but a burden.

The next morning, the charwoman finds the beetle dead in the room. I am grateful that the useless monster has finally died. Father dismisses the boarders and we all take the day off in celebration of the death of the beetle. Good riddance to that thorn in our side!

Kafka Franz.  “The Metamorphosis,” Tr. Joachim Neugroschel.  The Norton Anthology of

World Masterpieces. Eds. Sarah Lawall and Maynard Mack. 7th ed.  2 vols.  New

York:  W.W. Norton & Co., 1999:  II: 1640-1672.

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