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Analytically, what specific kinds of transformations do the Samsa family make after...

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asterstream | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted April 20, 2012 at 5:49 PM via web

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Analytically, what specific kinds of transformations do the Samsa family make after Gregor's transformation in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis?

 

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM (Answer #1)

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Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis is the story of many changes, as the title suggests. The most obvious and significant transformation, of course, is Gregor's turning into a bug (cockroach); however, his family also undergoes significant changes throughout the novella.

Gregor's father has not worked for the past five years, so Gregor has been the family's sole provider--and he has provided for them very well. The family has a live-in servant, eats expensive food, and lives a quite leisurely life. In fact, when Gregor is unable to go to work, he watches them (something he obviously never had time to do before because he was working). He peeks through a crack in the door one evening and sees a cozy scene where his sister and father are in the habit of reading each night. 

It was so quiet all around too, even though there must have been somebody in the flat. "What a quiet life it is the family lead", said Gregor to himself, and, gazing into the darkness, felt a great pride that he was able to provide a life like that in such a nice home for his sister and parents.

Of course, without Gregor's income, everything quickly changes financially. The live-in servant is replaced by a part-time housekeeper, his father suddenly has enough ambition to get a job as a bank messenger, the family takes in boarders, and his sister gets a job as a sales clerk. 

What does not particularly change is the family's attitudes. Gregor's father was never very nice to Gregor, and now he becomes cruel. Gregor's mother is rather a non-entity before Gregor's transformation, and she is not much better afterward, though she is perhaps the most sympathetic regarding Gregor--after he is dead. Grete, the sister, does try to help Gregor, though her actions are often misguided and self-centered. 

Gregor's transformation and death have effectively transformed his family in many productive ways, though they never really exhibit any love for their son and former provider either while he is alive or after he is gone. 

 

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