Franz Kafka's Metamorphisis

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Gregor Samsa awakes one morning to discover that he has been transformed into a repugnant vermin. One may never know what initiated this makeover, but the simple truth is that Gregor is now a bug, and everyone must learn to live and move on in this strenuous situation. In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the characters that interact with Gregor, including his mother, his father, and his sister Grete, must come to terms with his unfortunate metamorphosis, and each does so by reacting in a unique way. Gregor’s family members are constantly strained by this unusual event, and all three of them are pressed to their breaking point.

Gregor Samsa’s mother, whose name is never revealed, is a physically and constitutionally weak woman. She cares dearly for Gregor which is first shown by her distress as Gregor does not wake up at his usual time. It is evident that Gregor’s mother has the hardest time coping with his transformation. She can not bear to lay eyes upon Gregor. Though she has trouble adjusting, she doesn’t stop loving her only son. As Gregor’s mother and sister begin to move furniture out of his room, his mother stops to contemplate whether this is the right course of action. As Sheldon Goldfarb states in his critical essay, “When his mother and sister start removing his furniture, his mother's second thoughts provoke him to resist: he does not want to give up his human past and the possibility of returning to it” (Goldfarb). On the outside, Gregor’s mother reacts with repulsion at the sight of the bug, but on the inside still cares deeply about her son underneath. Gregor is able to see this and it gives him new hope.

Mr. Samsa, Gregor’s father, whose failed business has cast him into a lifestyle of weakness and despair, reacts very distinctively to the metamorphosis. At first, Mr. Samsa, after his initial shock, seems to be the least affected by Gregor’s nauseating state. It seems that Mr. Samsa feels that he must protect the rest of his family from this abomination living in his flat. Unlike his mother and sister, Gregor’s father no longer recognizes Gregor as his son. This is made clear when Mr. Samsa attacks Gregor by pelting him with apples; the catalyst that ultimately led to the death of Gregor.

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