Throughout the novella, Gregor’s deeply rooted sense of guilt transitions from having the power to drive his actions to merely plaguing his thoughts. Immediately after his transformation, Gregor reveals that he has to “deal with the problems of traveling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary and constantly changing human relationships…” (Kafka 4), in his daily work. Although he appears to hate his job, Gregor does not quit, as he has both intrinsic motivation to provide and extrinsic pressure from his family to keep them afloat. Rather than reflecting on his feelings and emotional baggage attached to his job, Gregor focuses on grievances set in reality, and allows this to occupy his conscious mind. After Gregor’s transformation, his
When Gregor inexplicably becomes an insect his family is primarily worried about how this will affect them, and their financial security. The morning Gregor awakes as a monstrous vermin' is the first day he has missed work in five years; his family's immediate concern is for Gregor's job. His father begins to admonish him before he can even drag himself out of bed. When Gregor hears his sister crying at his door he thinks, "Why was she crying?? Because he was in danger of losing his job and then his boss would dun their parents for his old claims?" This is very significant to their relationship; he considers himself close to his sister, but feels her emotion spent on him is related to money. Gregor has been the sole breadwinner for years; working at a job he abhors only to pay his fathers debts. The family leads an extremely comfortable life of leisure; the father sits at the kitchen table and reads all day, the sister wears the best clothes and amuses herself by playing the violin, and all even take a mid-day nap. Gregor is extremely pleased and proud to provide them with this lifestyle; however, his generosity is met with resentment by his father and indifference by his sister and mother. Once the family grew accustomed to this lifestyle they no longer felt the need to be grateful, "they had grown used to it, they accepted the money, but no particularly warm feelings were generated any longer." At one point Gregor is deeply
Many times throughout our life, we wake up and do the same monotonous tasks every day and our lives rarely see change. We do not add any flavor or interest to our lives and consequently our expectations rarely change. But, how would you react if one morning you woke up and had somehow turned into a giant bug? Welcome to Gregor Samsa’s life. The Metamorphosis shines light on Franz Kafka’s own bitter life as his experiences are relived and reimagined through the timeline of Gregor Samsa. If the characters in this story were a representation of Kafka’s own life it reveals how truly awful it was. Indirect characterization intensifies the overall text by developing the characters and tying together Gregor’s fictitious world with Franz Kafka’s own reality.
To fully understand the depths of Gregor’s family’s betrayal, it must be mentioned how much he does for his family. His father had once owned a very unsuccessful small business, and when the business went under the family’s financial woes were unimaginable. Gregor saw this and wanted to bring joy to his family again. Kafka states, “At that time Gregor’s sole desire was to do his utmost to help the family to forget as soon as possible the catastrophe that had overwhelmed the business and thrown them all into a state of complete despair” (Kafka 25) He found a job so that
“The Metamorphosis” is a surreal story by Franz Kafka surrounding the transformation and betrayal of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one day, reborn into a large insect. Along with the bizarre and nightmarish appearance of his new hard back, brown segmented belly, and many legs, Gregor only desire is to live a normal life, unfortunately, this is impossible because he struggles to even get out of bed. Gregor transformation into an insect is a vivid metaphor for the alienation of humans from around the world. After losing human form, Gregor is automatically deprived of the right to be a part of society. Franz Kafka could relate to Gregor because he too was mistreated/neglected by his father and worked a job that he was unhappy doing. Franz and Gregor both were providers for their families. Alienation, isolation, and loneliness were not hard to recognize during the Modernity and Modernism time period.
He worries about not showing up to his job on time or losing it entirely because he knows that his family depends on it. Ultimately, Gregor is concerned about how his inability to continue as the provider will affect his family. He believes his role as provider is a responsibility that he must carry out in sickness and in health. Indeed, family provides a part of a person’s sense of self, but it is the decision of each individual of how much of an influence family is. In Gregor’s case, it was an overwhelming influence because he was more concerned about what would happen to his family instead of what would happen to him physically and emotionally as a consequence of his transformation into a bug. This overwhelming influence is psychologically unhealthy because it can cause Gregor and other individuals to be so focused on their family’s needs that they forget about their own needs. Likewise, the other extreme is also unhealthy – leaving one’s family on their own with no concern about what could happen to them. It would be more psychologically healthy for a middle ground where individuals are concerned about their family’s well being and attempt to help them only when their family is in the most need. Otherwise, individuals should only wish them well and work on tending to their own needs to be emotionally and physically healthy.
Franz Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis, is a novella about Gregor Samsa, a man who devotes everything to fulfilling the needs of his family. Kafka’s existentialist perspective on the meaning of life is illustrated through the use of the protagonist of Gregor Samsa. Existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility (Existentialism). Gregor is unable to fulfill the existentialist view of finding meaning in one’s life; he acted according to what his family wanted. Kafka’s belief that there is no meaning to life and that the individual has to create his own meaning in life is entirely missed by Gregor. Kafka uses the juxtaposing mindsets of Gregor and his family
Kafka utilizes a new narrative perspective in the last passage of his work to expose the one-sided love between Gregor and the rest of his family. The majority of the story had been told in a free indirect discourse restricted to the mind of Gregor. In this position, Gregor’s humanity —despite his inhuman exterior— and his genuine love for family is revealed. As the only source of income for the family, he works with every fiber in his being to overcome the debt that plagues them, as “He felt great pride at having been able to give his parents and sister a life like this in such a beautiful apartment” (411). This compassion is clearly not reciprocated when the narration shifts to the remaining family following Gregor’s demise. Instead they critique the shelter that Gregor
Gregor’s role in his family characterizes him as an altruistic individual whose nature made him ignorant to his family’s manipulation. Gregor endures most of his hardships without complaint and puts the needs of his family firmly above his own. Upon realizing his transformation at the beginning of the novella, his first thoughts were not of alarm but of great concern about being late to work because it is his only means of taking care of his family (Kafka 6). After his father’s business failed, Gregor “work[ed] with special ardor” (27) doing laborious work as a traveling salesman, not only to “pay off [his] parents’ debt”(4), but to also spend what little money he has to give Grete the opportunity to perform violin professionally (26). With all these responsibilities, it’s inevitable for Gregor to be under great stress, which can infer that Gregor’s transformation is a result of his willful desire to escape the pressures his overburdened life. Gregor struggled between remaining a steadfast provider or following his desire for independence, however, his metamorphosis freed him from a job he detests. Now that it is impossible for Gregor to work, Mr.Samsa reveals that “he possessed more money than Gregor knew about” (#). This is a significant event where Kafka uses the motif of betrayal to emphasize the corruption in familial infrastructure represented through Gregor’s sacrifice and interaction with his family, as well as to socially comment about how people in society use
‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka, the composer of the novel, explores the relations between an outsider and an insider, and Gregor Samsa’s relationship with his family, gradually following up on how Gregor decided to become an insect that he was physically being seen as, although he had been psychologically/ mentally been feeling like an “insect” for a while now. Gregor allowed himself to transition into an insect, as he chose he would let his family affect his personal happiness. Subsequently, he made the choice to become accustomed to the routine of the life he was living, to exclude and suppress himself from all persons and things, and to become fully focused on his job and his duties, despite the fact that he despised it so much. Gregor wanted to believe that he was in full control of his own life and emotions, when he only allowed his family to affect him thoughts and progression, similarly just like Kafka’s did as well as confiding to become an insect
So concerned with ensuring his parents and sister were taken care of, he forgot his own needs. It was apparent to everyone that he was no longer thought of as a son or an extension of the family, but merely as a "support system." The tragic fact is that "everyone had grown accustomed to it, his family as much as himself; they took the money gratefully, he gave it willingly but the act was accompanied by no remarkable effusiveness" (Kafka 48). It appears that in the course of his hectic work schedule, he overlooks that in return for dedication to his family, he remains unloved and unappreciated. Yet Gregor still "believed he had to provide his family with a pleasant, contented, secure life" (Emrich 149), regardless of how they treated him.
Throughout the story there is a metamorphosis that is taking place in his home. He has traded places with the family and is now living the life they had previously embelished in. His father begins to work along with his sister and his mother must now work and do the cooking and cleaning. Gregor on the other hand does nothing but daydream, crawl, and nap through his days. One ironic statement from his sister “He must go, if this were Gregor he would have realized long ago human beings can’t live with such a creature, he’d have gone away one his own accord. This creature persecutes us, drives away our lodgers, obviously wants the whole apartment to himself, and would have us all sleep in the gutter.” How selfish of her, had he not taken care of them and he was not the only one working
Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is a masterfully written novella about Gregor Samsa, a man who devotes his life to his family and work, for nothing in return. Only when he is transformed into a helpless beetle does he begin to develop a self-identity and understand the relationships around him. The underlying theme of The Metamorphosis is an existential one that says that any given choice will govern the later course of a person’s life and that a person has ultimate will over making choices. In this case, Gregor’s choices of his part in society cause him to have a lack of identity that has made him to be numb to everything around him.
In the third and final chapter, the family found the new drudgery of their lives. Their “overworked and tired-out family” (p. 880) increasingly neglected Gregor. He longed for responsibility and was “often haunted by the idea that next time the door opened he would take the
Kafka describes the tedious, murky and muggy environment that foreshadows the decomposition and fall of Gregor’s life. When Gregor opens his eyes, he finds himself changed into a grotesque vermin or an enormous insect, an insignificant creature. Gregor does not scream. He does not panic at least not until he worries about going to work, that a gigantic insect doesn’t need to bother showing up for work doesn’t cross his mind. It seems as though Gregor accepts his fate so willingly. With this striking opening, Kafka sets his mystifying psychological fantasy in motion. Kafka’s diaries and letters point out that he considered “Gregor’s fate no worse, or better, than that of any person.” The prior life of a traveling salesman vs. the one-room Gregor occupies, as an insect are both lives of solitude. Kafka wrote that “the cares we have to struggle with every day” are emotional anguish. Kafka lived a sad life. He was persistently haunted by the oppressive image of his father. This could be clearly seen in Gregor’s attempts to get out of the bed. But, since his door was locked, he would need to call for help, which he does not favor. This shows Kafka’s fear of his father. He would rather lay on the bed forever than call his father to help him. Kafka’s fear estimated here as Gregor’s fear