Franz Kafka utilizes symbols in order to develop Gregor’s progressive states, beginning with Gregor’s life pre-transformation symbol: the photo of Gregor when he was a lieutenant. When Gregor is first transformed into a bug, he finds himself looking around his room as he scrambles to get ready for work. He finds his eyes fixated on a photograph from when he served in the military, and reminisces on his human form. His transformation hasn’t fully manifested in his eyes at this point; Gregor remains opaque to his new form as an insect. “A photograph of Gregor that dated from his military service, showing him as a lieutenant, hand in sword, with a carefree smile, demanding respect for his bearing and his uniform” (11). This quote captivates Gregor’s masculinity, prior to his Metamorphosis and is one of the first symbols that is unhindered by aspects of his transformation. His formal life is one that embodied power and dominant masculinity. But as Gregor soon understands, this is no longer his reality. Rather, he is destined to life in this verminous state. Thus, it is evident that Kafka begins to portray Gregor’s first progression in the novel through the particular symbol of the photo.
As the novel progresses, Gregor begins to find pleasure in crawling around his room, but his mobility is hindered by the furniture that obstructs his pathway. To this, Grete and Mrs. Samsa decide to empty Gregor’...
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...terfly phase as an angel, and will continue to watch over his family, as he had done so before the transformation. Gregor once admitted his desire for “ the next time the door opened he would take charge of the family 's affairs again, just as he had done in the old days” (???). It is evident from this that Gregor wished to be his family’s confidant once more, but he knows that he no longer fits into the new family, since he is unable to handle the household affairs as he once had. But, in his new angelic butterfly form, his desires can once again come true to become his family’s support system, despite their knowledge of him doing so.
As a final analysis, Franz Kafka depicts Gregor’s progression as a bug with the use of various symbols. This is done in order to portray the theme of change occurring in ways that one may never expect, and can shape who they become.
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