Monday, April 14, 2014

Reading Reflection

In Foster's writings, the concept of a meal is very important. This is also an important theme in Kafka's Metamorphosis. In Foster's work, he talks about how sharing a meal is very important in the real world, so it is as well in any written piece. " the real world, breaking bread together is an act of sharing and peace, since if you're breaking bread you're not breaking heads" (Foster 8). This makes sense because oftentimes a meal will be used as a plot device to prove a point or perhaps to illustrate the relationship between characters. And like Foster says, if people are eating together then in general they are not killing each other. Both things only happen in things like Game of Thrones. In Metamorphosis, Gregor spends increasingly more time eating alone and listening to his family through the door when they are at mealtimes. They only ever talk about him, and they hardly ever eat for worry. Foster says that a failed meal is as powerful a device as a happy, shared meal. "Two people are at dinner and a third comes up, quite unwished for, and one or more of the first two refuse to eat...we know what they think about the interloper" (Foster 11). This mythical third person that comes up is akin to Gregor's transformation. The family quite dislikes Gregor's changing, so they do not eat. They are disgusted and will not eat. Foster is quite correct in that a failed meal has the same effect as any other meal. A meal is powerful imagery and helps move any story along in whichever direction it needs to.

Foster did have another chapter in the reading, however. This chapter was about vampires, metaphorical and literal (but not sparkly). In Metamorphosis, Gregor's parents are the vampires. They suck all the resources out of Gregor and are working on Grete when Gregor dies. Foster says, "So vampirism isn't about vampires? Oh, it is...but it's also about things other than literal vampirism: selfishness, exploitation, a refusal to respect the autonomy of other people..." (Foster 16). All of these things are what Gregor's parents did to him. They were selfish and used Gregor to further their desires, and then never allowed him any freedom. That does sound like a type of vampire. A vampire that feeds on youth and wealth, like a tick, growing fatter and draining its host. Foster sums it all up pretty well. "Using other people to get what we want. Destroying someone else's need to live in the face of our own overwhelming demands. Placing our desires, particularly our uglier ones, above the needs of others. That's pretty much what a vampire does, after all" (Foster 21). He is absolutely right.  A vampire has no cares but to feed their own addiction. They kill and don't worry about their trail of destruction. Gregor's family is the same way. At the end of the story, when he is dried up and flat and dead, he is swept away with the garbage. He is no longer useful so they had to get rid of him. But the point is that they didn't care what happened to him, their own caring son. Because they are vampires, plain and simple.