The Metamorphosis: Analysis Of Gregor’s Family

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The Metamorphosis, written by Franz Kafka, is a novella that takes us through a transformation from human to bug. The main character of the story, Gregor Samsa, wakes up one morning, late to work, and discovers that he has morphed into a terrible vermin. On the morning of Gregors’s metamorphosis, he lays in bed and reflects on his life, and how much he dislikes going to work every morning. Gregor is a travelling salesman and states that he has no time to enjoy a real “life.” After Gregor’s family tried begging him to get out of his room, he finally opened the door to reveal himself as the giant cockroach that he had transformed into. All of his family members had a different reaction to his transformation. His mom fainted in shock, his dad started beating him back into his room, and his sister Grete was the only one that cared, or was concerned, for him.

First, Gregor’s mom had a reaction of utter disbelief. Mrs. Samsa began to scream as she looks to her husband for confirmation of what she is seeing. She then has an impulse to go up to her son, to comfort or assist him in some way, but before she reaches him, she sinks to the ground in a state of shock. “His mother was not far away in front of him and seemed, at first, quite engrossed in herself, but then she suddenly jumped up with her arms outstretched and her fingers spread shouting: ‘Help, for pity’s sake, Help!’ The way she held her head suggested she wanted to see Gregor better, but the unthinking way she was hurrying backwards showed that she did not; she had forgotten that the table was behind her with all the breakfast things on it; when she reached the table she sat down on it without knowing what she was doing; without even seeming to notice that the coffee pot had been knocked over and a gush of coffee was pouring down onto the carpet.” (Paragraph 29). It also appears that Mrs. Samsa is still trying to understand what Gregor’s new state actually is, but, at the same time, she is so terribly frightened by what she sees that she cannot help but run from it. Although Mrs. Samsa was frightened by her son’s form, she didn’t want to see her son go, and begged Mr. Samsa to keep Gregor alive. “The last thing he saw was the door of his room being pulled open, his sister was screaming, his mother ran out in front of her in her blouse (as her sister had taken off some of her clothes after she had fainted to make it easier for her to breathe), she ran to his father, her skirts unfastened and sliding one after another to the ground, stumbling over the skirts she pushed herself to his father, her arms around him, uniting herself with him totally-now Gregor lost his ability to see anything-her hands behind his father’s head begging him to spare Gregor’s life.” (Paragraph 59). Mrs. Samsa could not bare to lose her son.

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Next, Gregor’s father’s first reaction to seeing Gregor’s metamorphosis was pure frustration and anger. He began directing Gregor back into his room with a stick. “Nothing would stop Gregor’s father as he drove him back, making hissing noises at him like a wild man. Gregor had never had any practice in moving backwards and was only able to go very slowly. If Gregor had only been allowed to turn round he would have been back in his room straight away, but he was afraid that if he took the time to do that his father would become impatient, and there was the threat of a lethal blow to his back or head from the stick in his father’s hand any moment.” (Paragraph 30). Mr. Samsa continues to stay irritated at the situation throughout the whole story. For example, his first reaction of seeing Gregor, and beating him, wasn’t the last time that he would physically hurt him. Mr. Samsa threw an apple at Gregor and was lodged into his back till his death. “It was an apple; then another one immediately flew at him; Gregor froze in shock; there was no longer any point in running as his father had decided to bombard him. He had filled his pockets with fruit from the bowl on the sideboard and now, without even taking the time for careful aim, threw one apple after another. These little, red apples rolled about on the floor, knocking into each other as if they had electric motors. An apple thrown without much force glanced against Gregor’s back and slid off without doing any harm. Another one however, immediately following it, hit squarely and lodged in his back; Gregor wanted to drag himself away, as if he could remove the surprising, the incredible pain by changing his position; but he felt as if nailed to the spot and spread himself out, all this senses in confusion.” (Paragraph 59). Mr. Samsa never truly accepted the fact that his son wasn’t going to be human again.

Finally, Grete, Gregor’s sister, was the only family member who actually cared and to care of Gregor during his change. Grete is the only one who can actually face Gregor in his new body. For example, she feeds Gregor twice a day. Although the meal wasn’t appetizing to humans, it was all garbage and rotten fruit, it was still a meal that a roach would enjoy. “Gregor was extremely curious as to what she would bring in its place, imagining the wildest possibilities, but he never could have guessed what his sister, in her goodness, actually did bring. In order to test his taste, she brought him a whole selection of things, all spread out on an old newspaper. There were old, half-rotten vegetables; bones from the evening meal, covered in white sauce that had gone hard; a few raisins and almonds; some cheese that Gregor had declared inedible two days before; a dry roll and some bread spread with butter and salt. As well as all that she had poured some water into the dish, which had probably been permanently set aside for Gregor’s use, and placed it beside them.” (Paragraph 37). Grete Samsa was also the only other character in the book, besides Gregor, to have a given name. Mr. Samsa (the father) and Mrs. Samsa (the mother) were never given real names. Although all the characters in the book had a significant role, Grete was the only person who was ever helpful or caring towards Gregor.

In conclusion, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, told the tale of a major transformation that would change a family forever. Although Gregor’s physical transformation only affected himself, the entire rest of his family changed in their own ways. Mrs. Samsa’s pain came from wanting to be reunited with her son. Mr. Samsa’s frustration occurred from the beginning of the book to the end, with no true transformation, except for the realization that he had to go back to work and provide for his family again. Grete Samsa ended up transforming from a child into a young and caring woman by the end of the book. Although Grete was the only supportive character in the entire book, she ended up making the final call in Gregor’s life. All in all, every single character in The Metamorphosis had their own little transformation whether it be a physical one, or one in growing up and moving on.


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