The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka: Transformation Of Each Member Of The Family
Love, respect, and forgiveness are the fundamental values that every family should have. When a member of the family goes through a change, they should still stick with them, without giving up, trying to understand and make a difference. However, in Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis, it isn’t the case. As Gregor transforms into a vermin, his family slowly gives up on him since he’s no longer considered human to their eyes. Kafka uses the character of Gregor in his novella ‘Metamorphosis’ to show the transformation of each member of his family due to Gregor’s new form. The author wants to show us society’s inhumanity and how one fact can change people’s lives.
In the beginning, Gregor goes through a physical change “He lay on his hard armorlike back and when he raised his head a little he saw his vaulted brown belly divided into sections by stiff arches”. Nonetheless, he still prioritizes his family first over his own state because he knows he was the only provider for the family, and they all depend on him. He is considered somehow as the father of a family, even going through hard times, he is determined to aid them in any way possible in order to cause less struggle. “For now he must lie low and try, through patience and the greatest consideration, to help his family bear the inconvenience he was bound to cause them in his present condition.” A bug isn’t supposed to work and think, but Gregor still has human thoughts about how to earn money in his new form and how it would infuriate his boss. He stays in his room and thinks about ways to not disappoint them. However, as the story continues, Gregor experiences a notable change mentally. He is no longer concerned about his insect appearance as he climbs walls and scares his family. Why would Gregor treat them in the right way if he wasn’t receiving equitable respect? “His growing lack of concern for the others hardly surprised him, whereas previously he had prided himself on being considerate.” his personality is being compared from the beginning of the novella when he cared about everyone, but now he goes out of his room sometimes knowing that it would scare his mother. Since no one cared about him, he felt that his identity as a son and a brother were slowly fading away. However, Gregor’s transformation also transforms his family’s thoughts about him. To them, he’s just a ghastly and repulsive beast, that receives isolation and hate.
After her brother’s transformation, the first effect it had on Grete was when she first showed some kind of sympathy and awareness. She gives herself the role of taking care of him, as she feeds him twice a day and cleans his room. “When she noticed him underneath the sofa she slammed the door shut from the outside. But as if regretting her behavior, she instantly reopened it and tiptoed in” Kafka shows a contrast of sonority between the words slammed and tiptoed. Here, Grete couldn’t accept his new form yet. As a reader, we would expect her to scream in disgust, slam the door in fright and run away, but instead, she tries to ignore the fact and treats him with attention by tiptoeing back into his room. This shows that she is a strong person, and no matter what she is facing, she copes with the problem and overcomes it because when the rest of the family stayed distant from the repelling insect, she put her fear aside and tries her best to be helpful.
Though as the days go by, she feels that he has become a burden to the whole family, Gregor is no longer considered like her brother, and she wants him gone. “My dear parents, things can’t go on like this I refuse to pronounce my brother’s name in front of this monstrosity: We have to get rid of it” The word ‘it’ suggests his dehumanization because a human can’t be referred to this word. With her new responsibility, she begins to metamorphose, she likes the idea of having control and just can’t stand Gregor anymore. She now makes an announcement in front of the whole family concerning her brother, she has authority and power, whereas, in the beginning, she was simply a shy and quiet little girl. She changed from a 17 years old teen to a grown woman ready to start her own life. At the end of the story, Frau and Herr both thought about how it was finally time for her to find herself a husband.
At last, Gregor’s transformation also has an effect on his parents, but perhaps relatively less significant as they were already. They were already accustomed to using Gregor as a source of income and had minimal interaction with their son. Herr Samsa isn’t the best father a child could ask for. Throughout the novel, Herr becomes impatient and preposterous when it comes to dealing with Gregor. “When his father gave him a terrific shove from behind and he flew, bleeding profusely, far into the room.” The choice of the phrase: “flew, bleeding profusely far” infers that Herr becomes uncontrollable when it comes to deal with his vermin son. He’s filled with rage and his only goal is to get rid of Gregor. This shows the reader how pathetic and careless he was as a father. He realizes how much his father has changed as he became more active than before. He used to sit on the couch at home whereas after he bombarded Gregor with apples, he started to work. We learn that Herr could have actually worked but had forced Gregor to provide for everyone. This plot point suggests a sadistic view of Kafka on society, in which people take advantage of others. He could be referring to his own life where he had an unsupportable and distressing relationship with his father.
To conclude, not only did Gregor go through a metamorphosis, but his family also goes through a significant change. They gradually lost interest and heedfulness for the member that was the most caring of all. He wouldn’t complain either would he take a day off in his five years of working as a traveling salesman. That was the sacrifice he had made for them and a physical transformation had made the family detest him. The sister and the parents have decided to continue their life without the presence of Gregor, as he was now a bug. It’s as if they’ve got rid of the problem, and they could now live in harmony and start off a new life with the idea that Gregor was already dead. “Then all three left the apartment together, which they had not done in months, and took a trolley to the countryside on the outskirts of town.”
Their metamorphosis has changed them in two ways, negatively because they abandoned Gregor, but positively because they’re now even closer and spending more time together, whereas before they each had minimal interactions in the house. They were held back when Gregor transformed into an insect, but his death has freed them from the burden. As a matter of fact, they can’t actually be blamed for losing hope in Gregor and starting off a new life without him considering that communication wasn’t possible anymore. Towards the end “Gregor seduced by the playing had ventured farther forward” This links to the last phrase of the essay, because if he was completely an insect, music wouldn’t move him at all. We end the novella by having all sorts of questions. At some point, was Gregor indeed still human, or even a family member, or was he completely metamorphosed?
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