Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis

Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis

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"Metamorphosis": The story of a traveling salesman who, shortly after returning home, awakens one day to discover that he has literally changed into a gargantuan insect incapable of communication. Upon the initial scanning of this story a reader might think this is the plain and simple case, but on further examination will find that this is not what the story is about at all. Although focusing on and told from Gregor's point of view and what is happening to him, don't be fooled though, this is actually a story about Grete. If you study each of the main characters in the story you will find many similarities Gregor, his Father, and Mother share in the manner of their metamorphosis. All three of them go through quite sudden and obvious metamorphoses near the same time. Grete, on the other hand, becomes a point of interest in that her metamorphosis is quite different; it is a much slower, gradual, and overall more inconspicuous change that comes over her.
Throughout the book there is a pointed emphasis on Grete somewhat concealed by Gregor's point of view. We see a vivid description of all of the members of Gregor's family at the beginning of the story. Each of them notices and reacts to Gregor's sudden change in behavior with marked difference. We are shown each of them in their natural state, reacting to Gregor's delinquency through Gregor's eyes. First, his mother gently concerned that her son is not fulfilling his usual duties. Then his father, looking for a way to take some kind of charge, (and this is significant) pounding on the door, in comparison to his mothers approach. You see the Father taking a sort of controlling, disciplinary role here. Last we are shown Grete. She is introduced briefly here as are the other characters, but her reactions to Gregor and the manner in which she changes later on will set her apart from her parents and even Gregor..
From Gregor and his parents we see a rather fast transformation in their attitude towards Gregor's metamorphoses. Gregor himself doesn't seem to think twice about the fact that he has awaken as a giant insect, rather he spends his thoughts on the mundane, things that he needed to get done as if being a giant cockroach wouldn't impinge on his normal activities.

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His father, mother, and sister all do freak out when he leaves his room for the first time as is natural, but hereafter we find that Grete is the only one that is willing to care for Gregor in any manner at all. Very quickly the old Gregor is forgotten to his parents, and to them he is naught more than a large bug. His father threatens him with a stick and his mother rejects who he is. Grete, while creeped out by him, still found ways to bring Gregor the food that he needed and liked for a pretty significant period of time while his parents would try to avoid him completely. Part of them realizing, though, that this was still their son they did not pursue removing the bug from their lives completely.
Grete is dependent on Gregor for her prissy, Victorian lifestyle with maids and cleaning ladies. As she works with Gregor, her attitude towards him slowly changes. She starts out rather a weak person, and her attempts to take care of Gregor as an insect . As she slowly begins to understands that there is nothing she can do to nurse Gregor back into health she becomes more and more withdrawn from him. Her comfortable survival is obviously more important to her than his at this point. She realizes that all her efforts to revive the lifestyle she was living would be wasted on Gregor who wasn't showing signs of recovery of any kind. She keeps holding on to a hope that Gregor will get better and everything will return to what it was before, hoping to keep her dependence upon Gregor. For a long time she keeps this attitude and even starts to work and earn money, becoming partially independent to help her survive until Gregor can resume his former roles. When Gregor comes out of his room to listen to her music and thus ruins the families plans in renting out their spare rooms something is made painfully obvious to her and she had to make a choice. “Either I continue to divide my attention between working to survive, family, and Gregor and become consumed in so trying, or drop Gregor and finally have some form of peace in my life so I can finally be able to move on from this terrible lifestyle.” She begins to see Gregor as a threat to her own survival and stability.
Gregor's parents also have changed. Neither of them shows any hope of Gregor ever returning to his normal state so they go quickly into their economic survival modes in order to make ends meet. In so doing the father regains his confidence in the home as the breadwinner and his mother starts to feel a little taste of being self-dependent again; thus the parent's quick shift in attitude toward Gregor and also Grete's reluctance to become independent with them. The parents were, in a sense craving the independence while Grete was doing her best to avoid it.
I do believe that Grete had good intentions in the beginning. She loved her brother and wanted him to be happy whatever form he was in, but in the end she too was just as needful of his economic presence as her mother and father in order to continue giving her love to him. So just as gradually as Gregor learned to become comfortable and content to hang around on his ceiling, his mind slowly becoming that of an insect's and enjoying what a insect naturally enjoys, Grete also, in her desire and need to survive in her natural state, drifts to the way of life and thinking that would naturally make her most happy. Thus we are shown the story of Grete Samsa's metamorphosis through the telling of the story of Gregor Samsa's transformation and death.
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