Critical Essay Sample on Kafka's Metamorphosis

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Carnegie Mellon University
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Literature review
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Apart from the turning of Gregor into a bug, the actual change, the Metamorphosis, happened with the whole family before the change. Gregor’s major transformation occurred through his life changes but not only when he turned to become a bug. His life before he turned into a bug-like creature resembled a bumblebee. He lived his life doing what other people told him to do. In the story, he states that he must be up early enough to catch up with his train. The statement shows that he followed a certain schedule in life just like a worker bee does. Various changes occurred to Gregor throughout his life. However he is trapped with an outlook of a bug, he is a human conscious, and at first, he tries his best to help his family through his working abilities. He struggles on the verge of becoming a vermin, and finally, he dies. His metamorphosis throughout his life is as described below and evident in the novella, The Metamorphosis. This paper highlights how Gregor struggles to provide for his parents and sister, but finally, they abuse him when he became sick. It also highlights the fate that faces his family members after his death.

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The Significance of Gregor to the Family

The role of Gregor in his family is very significant to all the family members. In the beginning, he is the only member of the family who is working. His job was very crucial because the future of Gregor, his sister Grete, and their parents solely depended on it(Kafka, pg84). Gregor was not happy with his work. Due to this reason, he always wanted to leave his job. However, he could not quite the job because he had to provide for his parents and sister(Kafka, pg82). He has a feeling that the dependence of his family on him is too much. When he gets ill, he does not want anyone to get into his room because he thinks that his condition would make them start feeling horrified. His strength is not sufficient for working although the demands from his parents, who are like parasites to him, are not reducing.

Gregor Samsa started providing for their family as a traveling salesperson, a hawker. He also tries to clear off the debt of his father since his business had failed. Boss of Gregor was a bad-tempered person, and so he stayed in the job with endless fear. However, he avoids complaining and tries his best to ensure that his family continues enjoying his provision. One morning as he wakes up, Gregor notices that while he was asleep, he somehow turned into a bug. He continuously worries how possible was it for him to attend to his official duties while at his current state. He denies believing in his current reality. Following the strictness of his boss at work, he was in great fear.

Later Gregor realizes that he had changed into a bug and he hardly had control over the transformation of his body. Despite his problems, he is worried about reporting to his job late and what members of his family would say about his current self. Soon he hears his parents knocking at the door of his room, asking him to get out for the job. He panics but still refuses to open the door in fear of letting people know about his current state. Later, his boss joins his parents and begins giving him threats. Due to fear of losing his job and hence his family ending up in the streets for lack of finances, he opens his door. Gregor pleads with his boss not to fire him while running after him. However, when he gets out, everyone runs away from him due to his appearance like a bug. Although he had an assurance of his family understanding his state, they all escapes, and his father almost killed him as he tried to get him back to the room. They fail to understand his flight and have no mercy to help him get back to his past self.

Gregor felt that his family members were mistreating him despite his ill-health condition because they thought that the danger of losing his job was facing him. They also feared that since Gregor was losing the job, they would start being harassed again by the chief due to the old debts(Kafka, pg76). Due to the two reasons, every person was angry and needed him to get out of the room and go to work. His significance to the family was provision and that is all that they considered from him. After Gregor’s secret of transformation to an insect was realized, his family members discovered that he was of no more importance to the family. He was, therefore, having no reason for appreciation. He was fired from his workplace due to his inability to attend to his official obligations.

Since he had lost his job, he was therefore unable to provide for his two parents and a sister. His relevance to the family was therefore lost because he had nothing to give. Their family eventually began falling apart and the household continuously reduced(Kafka, pg113). Gregor now becomes a trouble to his family for he could not afford any function. They locked him up in his room without letting him out. It was imprisonment since he was completely regulated to accessing the outside environment. His expectations about his parents continuously lacked sense.

As time moved on, Gregor was gaining no more respect from his family. They slowly removed his possessions out of his room since he had no strength to deny anything. No one cared about the cleanliness of his room for some time. The cleaning of his room could not have been done so hastily. Dirt streaks stretched along the walls of his room. Balls of dust and filth were also laid everywhere inside the room(Kafka, pg114). Anything that was used at that time by the family was just thrown into his room. They could see beyond the normality no more. He seized being Gregor to them, but now just an insect. Due to this reason, they denied him the respect worthy of him as a human and also their son.

The parents of Gregor failed in their obligation to understand him. There was an issue related to communication within their family even before he underwent his metamorphosis. Gregor did not identify his voice when he speaks to respond to his mother for the first time. He was shocked as he heard his voice answering the voice of his mother (Kafka, pg70). However, though he sounded awful, Gregor’s mother did not realize the variation in his voice. This failure is a suggestion that they were not speaking often. There were no changes after his metamorphosis, and Gregor continued to be misunderstood by his parents and sister.

Gregor’s family did not realize that, although he was like a bug, he was still alive and that he was able to comprehend all that they could say around him. He tried to show loyalty to his family many times. However, the more he bent his head humbly, the more loudly his father stamped on the wall(Kafka, pg86). His sister, Grete, tried to show his father and mother that Gregor was not with them anymore, despite the fact that she was the one who he trusted most. She calls him a creature and tells them that they must try to expel it (Kafka, pg124). She also tells her parents that she cannot call the creature her brother.

The Personality of Gregor

The personality of Gregor was not to be accepted. After some period, his relatives had still not been used to him. He noticed how his sight was repulsive to them and that there were no hopes of the situation changing(Kafka, pg99). His condition was majorly a result of the abuse that he received from his relatives, and it made him wiser. He got used to his transformation. Actually, he began enjoying being a bug. He enjoyed especially hanging from the roof of his room (Kafka, pg100). Also, the more they talked about him, the more they made him think more. He concluded that his state as a bug was better and so he was not willing that things changed to be the way they were at the beginning. He was frequently disturbed by the reasoning that the next moment the door to his room opened, he would be responsible for all the affairs concerning his family (Kafka, pg114). He was exhausted of every member of the family relying on him, and so he reasoned more logically as a bug.

Since Gregor was not working anymore, the other members of the family strived to earn income, but they could not equal what he was earning. Because of this insufficiency in income, they looked for three lodgers. On a certain evening, the lodgers gave loud complaints about the appearance of Gregor. Grete also screams calling him a creature that must leave their house. He was starving in his room while others were taking meals. He sadly stays back in his room that evening and finally passes off. When his family found him dead the following morning, they feel relieved and evict the lodgers.

Apart from Gregor, there are also other people who are affected and also changes in the story. His father and mother began to abuse Grete, his sister, the same way they abused Gregor. His unemployment compelled her to look for a job to provide for her needs and the needs of the family, the same thing Gregor was once doing. After his death, Gretes parents realized that she had grown up well and it was the right time for her to get a husband, who could in a way help them as Gregor did. Even after his death, he continues being a hindrance to happiness in his family. Following the newfound opportunities for jobs, his death was possible to cause better things (Kafka, pg132). Every time Gregor was their subject of discussion, they mentioned how he was useless to them. Gregor’s sister was also undergoing her change. In Gregor’s early metamorphosis, he would stretch his limbs as he tried to be comfortable (Kafka, pg71). A similar stretch is portrayed by Grete when she also sprang to her feet as she was stretching her body. She would possibly be undergoing a similar transformation.


In conclusion, the character of Gregor is a symbol of people, who sacrifices much for other people, but they are finally abused and not appreciated. Once such characters seize from sacrificing their efforts, people never value them again. The reason Grete and her brother turned out the way they did was their parents. They kept their total interest in having a comfortable life hence they could not notice what Gregor was undergoing. Although he invested much of his effort in them, they could not realize that the insect that they abused was indeed their son.

Work Cited

Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis.

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