October 11, 2011
The Deterioration of Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis
“We must try to get rid of it,” Gregor’s sister directed to the remaining members of the Samsa family in the resolving lines of Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis.” And without hesitation, his family, the closest people to him whom he had attempted to provide for his entire life, turned against their son and brother. Soon, his family would unconsciously realize that with every downward turn for Gregor, they would benefit and learn to carry on their own prosperous lives. Without any real interaction with the exception of gibberish of another language being expelled from Gregor’s mouth, the family began to feel as if there was no hope. But as his father stated, “If he could understand us.” However, “he must go.”
Gregor’s slow but steady deterioration is evident throughout the story right from the initial, “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” At first, it appears to be his own problem: he is no longer capable of comprehensible speech or capable of simple acts such as opening his bedroom door, very much like a nightmare. The difference between a nightmare and his situation is that he quickly realizes that “it was no dream.” Slowly, yet quickly in the mind of Gregor, he realizes that between him and his family, “their intercourse lacked the lively character of former times.” It had been degraded to Gregor eavesdropping on the people with whom he used to have full conversations with. Things get even worse for Gregor when an apple lodged in his back becomes, as Kafka describes, disabling and detrimental to his health. Even his work uniform, which was not new by any means, became dirty without the care his mother and sister used to put into it. He had become accustomed to living in pain by being secluded from society, as an outcast. This ate away at him so much, that Kafka mentions he “hardly sleeps...