"Metamorphosis," Vocabulary from Part 1

Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis" is brilliantly daring storytelling. The main character may indeed be a "monstrous vermin" right from the start, but as the story progresses and his struggle is described in detail, it is difficult not to take pity on him (etext found here).

Learn these word lists: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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definitions & notes only words
  1. monstrous
    distorted and unnatural in shape or size
    One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.
  2. melancholy
    grave or even gloomy in character
    The dreary weather (the rain drops were falling audibly down on the metal window ledge) made him quite melancholy.
  3. minion
    a servile or fawning dependant
    He was the boss's minion, without backbone or intelligence.
  4. suspicious
    not as expected
    But that would be extremely embarrassing and suspicious, because during his five years' service Gregor hadn't been sick even once.
  5. reproach
    express criticism towards
    The boss would certainly come with the doctor from the health insurance company and would reproach his parents for their lazy son and cut short all objections with the insurance doctor's comments; for him everyone was completely healthy but really lazy about work.
  6. haste
    a condition of urgency making it necessary to hurry
    As he was thinking all this over in the greatest haste, without being able to make the decision to get out of bed (the alarm clock was indicating exactly quarter to seven) there was a cautious knock on the door by the head of the bed.
  7. distort
    make false by mutilation or addition
    It was clearly and unmistakably his earlier voice, but in it was intermingled, as if from below, an irrepressibly painful squeaking which left the words positively distinct only in the first moment and distorted them in the reverberation, so that one didn't know if one had heard correctly.
  8. articulation
    the aspect of pronunciation that shapes the sounds of speech
    He made an effort with the most careful articulation and by inserting long pauses between the individual words to remove everything remarkable from his voice.
  9. intention
    a wish or design that you plan to carry out
    Gregor had no intention of opening the door, but congratulated himself on his precaution, acquired from traveling, of locking all doors during the night, even at home.
  10. incessantly
    without interruption
    Instead of these, however, he had only many small limbs which were incessantly moving with very different motions and which, in addition, he was unable to control.
  11. diminutive
    very small
    They would have only had to push their arms under his arched back to get him out of the bed, to bend down with their load, and then merely to exercise patience and care that he completed the flip onto the floor, where his diminutive legs would then, he hoped, acquire a purpose.
  12. equilibrium
    a sensory system that registers the orientation of the head
    He had already got to the point where, with a stronger rocking, he maintained his equilibrium with difficulty, and very soon he would finally have to decide, for in five minutes it would be a quarter past seven.
  13. absorb
    assimilate or take in
    The fall was absorbed somewhat by the carpet and, in addition, his back was more elastic than Gregor had thought.
  14. premonition
    an early warning about a future event
    Actually just yesterday evening I had a small premonition.
  15. fetch
    go or come after and bring or take back
    Anna!' yelled the father through the hall into the kitchen, clapping his hands, " fetch a locksmith right away!"
  16. imminent
    close in time; about to occur
    In order to get as clear a voice as possible for the critical conversation which was imminent, he coughed a little, and certainly took the trouble to do this in a really subdued way, since it was possible that even this noise sounded like something different from a human cough.
  17. exertion
    use of physical or mental energy; hard work
    Gregor pushed himself slowly towards the door, with the help of the easy chair, let go of it there, threw himself against the door, held himself upright against it (the balls of his tiny limbs had a little sticky stuff on them), and rested there momentarily from his exertion.
  18. inflict
    impose something unpleasant
    But to make up for that his jaws were naturally very strong; with their help he managed to get the key really moving, and he did not notice that he was obviously inflicting some damage on himself, for a brown fluid came out of his mouth, flowed over the key, and dripped onto the floor.
  19. muster
    gather or bring together
    Imagining that all his efforts were being followed with suspense, he bit down frantically on the key with all the force he could muster.
  20. collapse
    break down, literally or metaphorically
    His mother (in spite of the presence of the manager she was standing here with her hair sticking up on end, still a mess from the night) with her hands clasped was looking at his father; she then went two steps towards Gregor and collapsed right in the middle of her skirts spreading out all around her, her face sunk on her breast, completely concealed.
  21. composure
    steadiness of mind under stress
    "Now," said Gregor, well aware that he was the only one who had kept his composure.
  22. circumstance
    a condition that accompanies some event or activity
    Gregor realized that he must not under any circumstances allow the manager to go away in this frame of mind, especially if his position in the firm was not to be placed in the greatest danger.
  23. amelioration
    the act of relieving ills and changing for the better
    Right away he believed that the final amelioration of all his suffering was immediately at hand.
  24. apparently
    from appearances alone
    But at the very moment when he lay on the floor rocking in a restrained manner quite close and directly across from his mother ( apparently totally sunk into herself) she suddenly sprang right up with her arms spread far apart and her fingers extended and cried out, "Help, for God's sake, help!"
  25. bewilder
    cause to be confused emotionally
    Now, unfortunately this flight of the manager also seemed completely to bewilder his father, who earlier had been relatively calm, for instead of running after the manager himself or at least not hindering Gregor from his pursuit, with his right hand he grabbed hold of the manager's cane, which he had left behind with his hat and overcoat on a chair.
  26. disrupt
    interfere in someone else's activity
    Perhaps his father noticed his good intentions, for he did not disrupt Gregor in this motion, but with the tip of the cane from a distance he even directed here and there Gregor's rotating movement.
  27. passage
    a channel or duct in the body
    Naturally his father, in his present mental state, had no idea of opening the other wing of the door a bit to create a suitable passage for Gregor to get through.
  28. require
    have need of
    He would never have allowed the elaborate preparations that Gregor required to orient himself and thus perhaps get through the door.
  29. peculiar
    beyond or deviating from the usual or expected
    On the contrary, as if there were no obstacle and with a peculiar noise, he now drove Gregor forwards.
  30. liberate
    grant freedom to; free from confinement
    Then his father gave him one really strong liberating push from behind, and he scurried, bleeding severely, far into the interior of his room.

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