The Metamorphosis

Inciting Event: In the first line, Gregor wakes up, metamorphosed into a large beetle. Although this is, of course, the incident that launches the entire story (the first domino in the line of dominos that form the plot), it is not, strictly speaking, the inciting event. Why? Because it involves no conflict; Gregory’s predicament is just under observation at this point.

The Inciting Event occurs, just as it should, halfway through the First Act when Gregor’s overbearing manager arrives to demand why Gregor is abnormally late for work. Now, suddenly, Gregor’s Normal World (such s it is within the scope of the story) as a beetle can no longer remain in passivity. It is now rocked by conflicting needs.

First Plot Point: Gregor finally makes it out of bed and through the bedroom door in an effort to apologize to the manager. In so doing, he reveals his new form to the manager and his own family for the first time. The conflict is now fully engaged. He leaves the Normal World of the First Act (i.e., passive observation and acceptance of his new form) for the “adventure world” of the Second, in which he is feared and reviled by everyone around him. His father drives him back to his room, wounding him in the process.

First Pinch Point: Now that Gregor has lost his job, finances become a major problem for the family. The father must go out and get a job for the first time in a long while. The primary antagonistic force in this story is arguably the family’s need to support themselves—something they previously always relied upon Gregor to do for them. Here, the need for money inexorably flexes its inevitability and changes the family dynamic forever.

Midpoint: Despite his growing desire to be free to climb about on the walls of his room, Gregor finds that he resents his mother and sister’s trying to remove all the furniture from his room. He experiences a Moment of Truth, in which he chooses to fight off his new bug nature in favor of his old humanity. He reveals himself to his mother, who faints—which finally turns his sister against him.

Second Pinch Point: The father returns home to the scene of chaos and attacks Gregor by throwing apples at him. One of the apples lodges in Gregor’s abdomen, grievously wounding him.

Third Plot Point: The Third Plot Point here isn’t so much a moment, since it is not dramatized, but rather summarized. We find the turn in the plot when Gregor’s family abandons him to the waste of his room. He stops eating and grows weaker and weaker from his wounds. He has given up. Everything he loves has been taken from him. The people he loves have abandoned him.

Climax: The lodgers, whom the family have had to take in, see Gregor and swear they will leave in the morning—without paying and with threats that they will perhaps even sue for damages. Gregor’s family finally and fully denounce him. The sister declares something should be done about Gregor; that they should no longer have to be responsible for the great burden he is upon them.

Climactic Moment: The next morning, Gregor dies.

Resolution: Relieved, the family happily begin planning their new lives.

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