The short but evocative novella The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a man who finds himself isolated from his family both physically and emotionally after an absurd incident where he awakes to find himself a creature differing very much from a human, resembling a cockroach-like insect. Gregor discontinues his job as a traveling salesman cutting off all financial support to his family and spends all his time alone in his room, only occasionally being serviced by his younger sister, Grete, who accepts the heavy burden of providing for the family. His mother and father no longer acknowledge him as a part of the family and after Gregor frightens his mother with his ghastly appearance, his father injures him severely by hurling an apple at him. Gregor spends the rest of his days alone in his room until his death lifts the great burden and rejuvenates the family. Throughout the book, Gregor’s efforts to expand beyond his room signify the destabilized part he plays in the family and his overall experience as a bug relates to that of an imprisoned man.
After his transformation, Gregor loses much of his credibility both as the provider and a simple family man. Just as well, he is physically unable to communicate with his family and his parents are unwilling to talk to him. Worried about his family’s state, Gregor attempts to listen in on his parents’ conversations by “pressing his whole body against the [door]…as soon as he [hears] voices”. (Kafka, 26) From this, he discovers that his family’s financial state is not as bad as he suspected and is “delighted at this unexpected foresight and thrift.” (Kafka, 28) He later reflects how at one point in time, earning so much money resulted in an “astonished and delighted family” but almost at a pattern the delight had ceased, the money was accepted with implied thanks, and the warm feeling had vanished. (Kafka, 27) The roles had reversed, for Gregor had at one point...
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