Unproctored Mock-7 2011
Directions for questions 1 to 3:
The passage given below is followed by a set of questions. Choose themost appropriate answer to each question.
is so canonical, it’s hard to offer an honest (or an interesting) review. A story like thisone especially, which is loaded with bizarre props in an otherwise realistic story, drives academic types tohunt hard for symbolism. The endnotes to the story contain the most tedious sorts of observations, whetheroffering strong hints that it’s an allegorical story (the business with the father throwing apples at Gregor), orthe cultural symbolism of open or closed doors and windows, or dreary notes on technique (the threeboarders are indistinguishable, which cleverly adds to the spookiness of the story (sorry, if I saw it used inBugs Bunny, then I refuse to be awestruck). It may all be true even, but although Kafka is careful about themood he builds, the purpose of the story isn’t quite that mind-boggling. Importantly, the story holds up justfine as a story. It’s more an odd exhibit to be appreciated than it is a puzzle to be solved, and Kafkamanages to evoke emotions and convey scenery with economy and skill, and on the basic level, here’sone that doesn’t shy from being read and enjoyed.I’m sure that any pointy-headed academic would be the first to tell you that the sturdy storytelling is part ofwhat makes this story so beguiling (and here I start off on my own wacky over analysis). The style holds upagainst, and cleverly contrasts, the giant absurdity of the premise. Kafka avoids in his own language, asdoes Gregor himself, the predictable hysteria that would surround the appearance of a gigantic insect inGregor’s bed one morning. Gregor has transformed into the insect. His bugginess is by no means ignored,but there is, in places you’d otherwise expect it, a big, beetle-shaped hole in the exposition. (It’s a shamesometimes what breaks through into the vernacular. Wouldn’t a cockroach upstairs be more evocative thanproverbial family-room pachyderms?) It’s a different sort of balancing act than Robbins was into, one thatgets the very structure of the narrative up onto the tightrope with everything else.And as much as I hate to dig into the comparative meaning of everything here, Kafka does choose hislanguage with precision. The opening, “as Gregor Samsa awoke from unsettling dreams” sets up hiscontrasting views splendidly. It’s not just an opposition between the concrete prose and absurd circumstances,there’s a deep division at work here between the intellectual (or realist) and emotional planes. Gregor is thethinker of the story, approaching his new body with (quite obtuse) rationalism. How will he open the door,he thinks, how will he explain to his boss that he’s late? He’s the character that is shown trying (and failing)to express himself with reason instead of the predictable alarm. But Gregor’s every action is verminous,and without his point of view, would only be seen as mindless: he exudes filth and craves garbage, scuttlesabout the ceiling and stuffs himself into dark places. To his family, he hisses uncontrollably in anger, andcreeps around stealthily surprising their conversations. The people in the story act, by contrast, emotionaland un-intellectual when confronted with the monstrous Gregor. Their actions are all expected and natural,but Kafka robs them of their reason in the face of horror. Kafka pulls all sorts of switcheroos with these
Unproctored Mock-7 2011