Study Guide

The Metamorphosis Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

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Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Anticipation Stage

Gregor wakes up to discover he's a bug.

You're probably glancing at the rest of the plot analysis thinking that maybe Kafka's skipped ahead a couple of stages. Being a disgusting insect could very well qualify for the "Frustration," "Nightmare," or even "Destruction or Death Wish Stage," depending on how much you hate bugs. But no, Kafka's story begins with the main character suffering a horrendously tragic fate. Let the hijinks begin.

Dream Stage

Gregor grows accustomed to some aspects of his new body, while he finds other aspects perplexing or disgusting.

Despite Gregor's intolerable situation, he actually seems to enjoy exploring his new body's capabilities sometimes. Who wouldn't enjoy defying gravity and clambering all around the room? He even feels a light euphoria as he hangs upside down from the ceiling.

Frustration Stage

Gregor's efforts to reach out to his family, particularly his sister, Grete, are thwarted.

Even though Gregor can find some positive aspects to his transformation, his family can't accept any of it—they barely tolerate him. Grete, for example, no longer takes care of his room with the same considerate attention that she did in the beginning. Gregor grows increasingly shabby and famished, and his room more cluttered with refuse, as the story goes on.

Nightmare Stage

Gregor attempts to communicate with his sister, but instead sets off a series of reactions that end with the whole family agreeing that they must be rid of him.

Gregor's situation is v aggravated by the fact that his family refuses to believe that he can understand them or that he's attempting to communicate with them through non-verbal ways. His attempt to reach out to his sister during her violin recital only confirms the family's worst fears about what he's become—a despicable vermin.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

Gregor dies.

For Gregor, his family's rejection of him is so absolute that it arguably takes away his will to live. Grete's assertion that Gregor is no longer Gregor, but just a nameless bug that must be eliminated just like any other bug, is a denial of Gregor's existence that Gregor finds so compelling that he agrees with her and literally ceases to exist.

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