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sweetsweetstephy's avatar

Possible research paper topics for "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka?

Asked by sweetsweetstephy (338 points ) April 18th, 2011

I have to write a 10–15 page research paper on “The Metamorphosis,” and while I absolutely love the book, I can’t think of any good topics. For those of you who know it and have read it, what would topics would you suggest? Thanks in advance!

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9 Answers

linguaphile's avatar

One way to find topics to research is to look up “Metamorphosis” on Google Scholar (google search: google scholar and it will take you to a new segment of Google- only academic papers).
“The Metamorphosis” was written when society was at an upheaval- WWI had just started, the Industrial Age was in full force, corrupt governments existed worldwide, change was happening fast and people had to reshape their identity. Was this story a social commentary or a straight out freak-story? Some topics you could research is whether the story is symbolic, and if so, how is it symbolic—what does the change symbolize? Or was humankind’s perception of itself changing, people changing into something ugly, or humans becoming so industrialized that they’ve become bugs/inhumane/drones?
I checked Google Scholar- there’s a lot more ideas there, especially if you put in “The Metamorphosis Kafka” and another term like “society,” or “allegory” or “symbolism.”
Good luck on your paper!

filmfann's avatar

Franz Kafka may have been gay. Is that what this story is about? What are the parallels to his life?

jlelandg's avatar

Something about family relationship, or the burdens of the working class? Been awhile since I read that book.

LostInParadise's avatar

One thing you could do is to write about how Gregor was already in effect an insect before his transformation. I found the Metamorphosis to be very funny in a twisted sort of way. On becoming an insect, Gregor’s first concern is that he will be late for work. He has nothing in the way of introspective capability. Imagine the Fluther question Gregor might have wanted to ask as being something like, “Are there special public transport accommodations for people who have been transformed into giant beetles?” I interpret the book to be a commentary on modern life and what it does to us.

Jeruba's avatar

A research paper? Meaning facts, not analysis and interpretation? There is certainly a rich vein to be mined in Kafka’s relationship with his own father.

For another angle, look up Nabokov’s lectures on Kafka and his own study intended to establish exactly what kind of beetle Gregor Samsa turned into.

For another, you could look into the social aspects: the life and living conditions of a family of their socioeconomic status and a worker with a job like Samsa’s.

Better make sure, first, that you are clear on what your instructor has in mind when calling for research. If, instead, you are asked to look up critiques and analytical discussions, that would invite different topics.

stardust's avatar

I think it’s worth exploring the parallels drawn between the story and mental illness and the effect that has on family relationships/dynamics.

ddude1116's avatar

My cousin wrote a paper about how the book stood for absolutely nothing, referencing Kafka’s own personal issues to prove that he had a type of schizophrenia. He got a solid B for it, too. Now, I read the book a while ago, and found that anecdote to be amusing and totally feasible, but I don’t know any further details of the story and how feasible it truly was….
on a sidenote, his hairstyle makes me smile :D!

viscaria1800's avatar

I read it this year for class and I guess theres a lot of things you could do. Why does Gregor become a bug, what does that symbolize, what is the apple imagery, how Gregor becomes more aware of his surroundings (his parents talking about him, his sisters violin playing, etc.), you could talk about how it is kind of a role switch, Gregor used to be the provider for his family but now it is kind of his dad, etc. There are a lot of topics you could do, but 15 pages is a lot. Good Luck on your paper!

flutherother's avatar

Life is full of uncertainties and this short story ‘reasons with the worst that may befall’ a sudden and almost total alienation from the rest of the human race. Let’s think…... a sudden illness might do it, or some sort of psychological breakdown, or maybe a terribly disfiguring war wound. Imagine a soldier badly wounded in Afghanistan coming back to the United States and trying to restart his life. The first morning he woke in America he would feel like Gregor Samsa did after turning into a cockroach. Attempts to be normal and mix with society could easily backfire as they did in the story. You could analyse the story from this real life perspective. It might be interesting.

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