Discuss the role of the narrator in Die Verwandlung.

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Anna Cannings                GM1019

Dr. Stewart

Discuss the role of the narrator in Die Verwandlung.

In this essay I shall look at the role of the narrator in the book Die Verwandtlung and discuss what effect it has on the way the story is told.  I shall firstly look at the narration and discuss what form it takes, then I shall consider ideas about what effect it has, looking for examples in the book.  I shall conclude by summarising the main points as to what form the narration takes and what effect it seems to have overall in the book.

In the book the form that the narration takes is a complex one.  It changes between a 3rd person narrator, focalised through Gregor Samsa and the seeming thoughts of Samsa himself.  For example, in the second section we can see that the narrator only knows what Gregor can find out:

        “Mit welchen Ausreden man an jenem ersten Vormittag den Arzt und den Schlosser wieder aus der Wohnung geschafft hatte, konnte Gregor gar nicht erfahren…”

However, at various times throughout the book the narrative lapses into thoughts that Gregor would probably be having.  Like when he looks at the alarm clock on the first morning and sees that it is very late:

        “Sollte der Wecker nicht geläutet haben?…Ja, aber war es möglich, dieses möbelerschütternde Läuten ruhig verschlafen?  Nun, ruhig hatte er ja nicht geschlafen, aber wahrscheinlich detso fester.”

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This shows that the narrative is still in the 3rd person but takes the form more of Gregor’s flow of consciousness than a traditional narrative.   This form has a somewhat disjointed effect in reading; it is slightly disorientating to be introduced to the story through a narrator but for the narration to be disrupted by the flow of consciousness of the main character.  However, the narrator is necessary in order to bring certain perspective to the reader, otherwise the reader would not be able to gain all the information needed to ascertain what is actually happening to Gregor.  His movements ...

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