How does the idea of homo economicus affect Gregor's self-esteem? How does it affect the father, the mother, and Grete? Is there any positive change (metamorphosis) taking place at the Samsa household? In what ways does Grete's treatment of Gregor change? What behavior Gregor takes is perceived as human sexual desires? Why do you think the father throws apples at Gregor?
How does the charwoman treat Gregor? How do the three boarders exploit Gregor's presense in the boarding house? Which character proposes removing Gregor from the house? After Gregor dies, what changes, metamorphosis, come to Gregor's family?
The Trial (written in 1915 and published in 1925)
Chapter 1: The Arrest: Conversation with Frau Grubach then Fraulein Burstner It is K's thirtieth birthday. What did he expect to happen and what does happen instead? What normal routine does K. forgo? In what ways is K's privacy and civility violated? What does K eat for breakfast? How does K change his attitude toward Fraulein Burstner over the course of this chapter? Does he treat the fellow boarder as he would treat Elsa? In what ways do the two warders, the inspector, and three bank clerks create a power structure? Provide three adjectives that appropriately capture K's character.
Chapter 2: First Interrogation In what ways does the Law resemble the Church? K believes he is innocent of the charge, whatever that may be. In what ways does he compromise his claim of innocence in this chapter? What diction and details produce dream-like mood in this chapter?
Chapter 3: In the Empty Court-Room: The Student, The Office Why do you think the Examining Magistrate, law student Bertold, and K. are all attracted to the Washerwoman? What significance does she have to these men? In what ways are young, voluptuous, promiscuous women used as a metaphorical device? In what ways is the Court structured? What does K. witness as he nears the center of the Court? What physical experience does he go through? In what ways is the Court different from the Bank? What do they respectively signify?
Chapter 4: The Floggers What aspect of this chapter is surreal and farcical? What aspect of this episode is psychologically arresting?
Chapter 5: The Uncle and Leni Which characters that K. encounters in this chapter represent authority and disapprobation? Which unexpected character does K. discover in Herr Huld's bedroom? What symbolic meaning does Leni's deformity convey? According to Leni, in what ways is the authority/ aura of the Law--particularly of an Examining Magistrate--constructed?
Chapter 6: Lawyer--Manufacturer--Painter K., nursing the idea of writing a written defense by himself, internally lambastes Huld for his dereliction of duty and ineptitude. Why do K.'s internal musings carry a detached, nonchalant tone when his own trial is on the line? Much time has lapsed and now it is winter. What transformation has overtaken K.'s work ethic and health? The Manufacturer could be rightfully indignant with K.; instead, he is patronizingly courteous with K. What legal connection does the Manufacturer arrange for K.? Do you think this is a gesture of goodwill or is there any hidden agenda behind this gesture? In what ways does K. share similarities with Herr Huld? Why do you think the hunchbacked girls chase after K. while he tries to visit Titorelli? Titorelli is working on the figure of Justice by combining the images of the Goddess of Justice and the Goddess of Victory. In what ways does this portrait capture the nature of the Law? Which question raised by Titorelli delights K. and why? According to the Painter, what are the three possible outcomes of K.'s trial? Which option is the most viable for K.--actual acquittal, apparent acquittal, and indefinite postponement? What does K. bring from Titorelli's studio to the Bank?
Chapter 7: Block, the Merchant and Dismissal of the Lawyer