Metamorposis The Real Metamorphosis Involved Only The Family

2235 words - 9 pages

Metamorphosis of the Family in Kafka's MetamorphosisIn Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, the nature of Gregor Samsa's realitychanges insignificantly in spite of his drastic physical changes. Gregor'slife before the metamorphosis was limited to working and caring for hisfamily. As a traveling salesman, Gregor worked long, hard hours that leftlittle time to experience "life." He reflects on his life acknowledging the"plague of traveling: the anxieties of changing trains, the irregular,inferior meals, the ever changing faces, never to be seen again, peoplewith whom one has no chance to be friendly" (Kafka 13). Gregor, working topay off his family's debt, has resigned himself to a life full of ...view middle of the document...

It was apparent to everyone that he was no longer thought of as ason or an extension of the family, but merely as a "support system." Thetragic fact is that "everyone had grown accustomed to it, his family asmuch as himself; they took the money gratefully, he gave it willingly butthe act was accompanied by no remarkable effusiveness" (Kafka 48). Itappears that in the course of his hectic work schedule, he overlooks thatin return for dedication to his family, he remains unloved andunappreciated. Yet Gregor still "believed he had to provide his family witha pleasant, contented, secure life" (Emrich 149), regardless of how theytreated him.Gregor's existence before the metamorphosis was much like after it; limitedto work and family, he went unnoticed by both. After changing into acockroach one night, Gregor is forced to live a life of isolation with afamily who is appalled by him. He is placed in a "dark bedroom, in thejumble of discarded furniture and filth" a " monstrous vermin, a grotesque,hidden part of the family" (Eggenschwiler 211). Shock and terror, resultingin Gregor being locked away, marked his family's reaction to hismetamorphosis. His sister is the only one that, while frightened, wouldtend to Gregor's room and meals. She even took the responsibility so far asto get angry with anyone who wanted to help. Gregor was not allowed anycontact or association with the family and "no one attempted to understandhim, no one, not even his sister, imagined that he could understand them"(Kafka 45).So Gregor was left to occupy his time, alone, and contemplate the situationhe had been thrust into. He was coming to realize that through hismetamorphosis he had not lost anything. He had simply moved from one formto another while his environment remained constant. The actualmetamorphosis "symbolizes a rebellion assertion of unconscious desires andenergies" (Eggenschwiler 203). Gregor's current circumstancesunderstandably left him in search of a way out. It was however, hisdevotion to his family that kept him working and sacrificing himself rightup to the crucial change.The family unit undergoes radical changes after Gregor's metamorphosiswhile he attempts to remain vigilant in caring for his family. In realityfrom the onset of the change Gregor would not be able to provide for hisfamily any longer. However, he is so consumed with his duties that, even inhis "cockroach" state "considers whether he can now still catch the seveno'clock train" (Emrich 137). Gregor puts his family first, yet again.During the confrontation with the manager from his office, he begs themanager "please sir, spare my parents" (Kafka 24). Even in the face of someunknown tragedy that had transformed Gregor, he steadfastly protects hisfamily. As always he concludes "his duty was to remain docile and to try tomake things bearable for his family" (Kafka 42). He carries this out eventhough it is he who is experiencing this devastating situation, not hisfamily.As time goes by Gregor...

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