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The Ending of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis
At first glance, the final four pages of Franz Kafka's novel The
Metamorphosis seem to be meaningless. This assumption, however, is anything but
the truth. The final four pages, although seeming to be of no importance, serve
to show the reader how the Samsa family changes as a result of the main
character's, Gregor Samsa's, death. The family's changes are best exemplified
in two different scenes: the scene at the kitchen table, and the scene on the
During the scene at the kitchen table, there is a common change among
the family members: their new willingness to do things independently. Their
bold act of writing "letters of excuse" is a clear example of their new
independence. Prior to Gregor's death, the family relied completely on Gregor's
financial support and had little in terms of responsibilities. Kafka explains
this lack of work when he writes, "they [Gregor's parents] had formed the
conviction that Gregor was set for life in his firm . . . they were so
preoccupied with their immediate troubles that they had lost all consideration
for the future,"(17). By taking the initiative and writing to their employers,
Gregor's family proves that they no longer depend on Gregor.
The scene at the kitchen table proves revealing once again when Mr.
Samsa announces that he will fire the cleaning lady (17). By doing so, Mr.
Samsa demonstrates that he has changed and can take responsibility. Grete
(Gregor's sister) and Mrs. Samsa also show that they have changed by not
contesting Mr. Samsa's decision to fire the cleaning lady. In retrospect,
firing the cleaning lady is an additional step towards change from the past.
The second revealing scene is the scene on the trolley. In this scene,
Kafka reveals the family's plans for the future, as well as the significant
changes in Grete. He also emphasizes that leaving the apartment together is
"something they [the family] had not done in months"(58). Demonstrating again
their change to independence. Similarly, the family's plan to buy a "smaller
and cheaper apartment" (58) further proves that they have become independent.
Kafka's remarks pertaining to Grete reveal a different kind of change. During
all of the turmoil involving Gregor, Grete matured both physically and mentally.
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The thoughts that Grete provokes in the minds of her parents reveal their good
intentions for the future.
In conclusion, the last four pages of Kafka's novel are a vital part of
the story. The scene at the kitchen table and the scene on the trolley both
play important roles in revealing the changes in the Samsa family. The change
from being completely dependent on Gregor, and the mental and physical changes
made by Grete. All of which were provoked by Gregor's death. By the end of the
novel, each member of the family is a different person.