Kafka Metamorphosis Family Essay

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Family is one of the major themes of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. There are four family members in the story; the son and main character Gregor, his father, his mother, and his sister Grete. The theme of family and the duties of family members to each other drive the interactions between Gregor and the others. His thoughts are almost entirely of the need to support his parents and sending his sister to the Conservatory.

Gregor has a bit of a different relationship with each one of his family members. Gregor and his domineering father, as in many modern-day dysfunctional families are, have long since stopped communicating with each other. Gregor has developed the 'learned instinct' to obey his father, to the extent that he proceeds to give up eleven-plus years of his own life. This self-sacrificing familial-molding action was just the behavior that Kafka was objecting to: Kafka disapproved of giving up individuality for any costs, even to save the family socioeconomic status.

To a lesser degree, Gregor feels a distance between his mother and himself. His mother, following stereotypical beliefs, is of the 'weak' type, asthmatic and "[pants] for breath while walking through the flat only". She lacks the strong maternal strength to help Gregor in any form in his path towards individualism. It is partly because of his mother's weakness and her inability to lend any means of support to her children that Gregor feels the familial, and social, need to deny his own individual identity.

Then there is Gregor’s relationship with his sister, Grete, which changes dramatically throughout the story and Gregor’s metamorphosis. Prior to morphing into an insect, Gregor had a close relationship with his sister (26) - he wanted to send her to the Conservatory so she could learn music. Initially, Gregor feels the closest to his sister: she was the only one who understood, from the very beginning of the story, that something was wrong with Gregor when he did not leave for work on...
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