5 July 2012
A True Metamorphosis
In Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” despite a complete physical transformation into an insect by the main character, Gregor Samsa, the true changes occur within not only Gregor, but also in his family. Initially, the members of the Samsa family appear hopeless and static, owing to the difficulties resulting from Gregor’s transformation as well as their financial predicament. Over time, though, they are able to overcome their financial difficulties, and when Gregor finally dies and the family no longer has to deal with his presence, all the family members are reinvigorated. They have completed an emotional transformation and their hope is revitalized. Gregor’s physical transformation into an insect does not initially change him mentally in that he still wants to go to work so that he can provide for his family. It takes him time to realize that he can no longer play that role in his family, whereas he can’t even go outside in his current state. As the story continues, Gregor’s insect body has an increasing influence on his psyche. He finds that he is at ease hiding in the dark under the sofa in his room, as a bug would, even though his body will not fit comfortably. He also discovers that he enjoys crawling on the walls and ceiling. These small acts of enjoyment show how he starts thinking about himself and not just about his family. In an article entitled “‘The Metamorphosis’ By Franz Kafka: A Summary, Analysis, And Interpretation” by Frances Colleen, she says that “his transformation into an insect symbolized a ‘desire for flight’ from his present life, a wish to retreat from the world and to be relieved of, all responsibility” (2). Gregor begins to realize that he enjoys not having the responsibility of his family’s debt, hostility, and alienation-somewhat of a “salvation from his guilt and solitude” (“The Metamorphosis”, 1). He realizes “he had been a ‘vermin,’ crushed and...
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