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What are the conflict, resolution, and meaning of The Metamorphosis?

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karimwahab | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2008 at 7:43 PM via web

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What are the conflict, resolution, and meaning of The Metamorphosis?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:51 PM (Answer #1)

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The conflict of this story is Gregor's conflict with himself.  He is not able to assert his own power in his life.  He sacrificing for his family, but to a point that is unhealthy for himself - the extent of his sacrifice is unhappy.  He works hard at a job he doesn't like, while none of the other family members work.  He has no social life and little happiness.  But what is proven through Gregor's transformation is that the rest of the family is perfectly capable of work.  As a matter of fact, they thrive despite Gregor's infirmity. 

The climax of this conflict is when Gregor makes a move to defend the possessions in his room.  His sister, now possessing the power in the family, has chosen to remove them.  Gregor gets possessive, however, and defends his furniture.  It is the first time that Gregor puts his own interests first.  However, the climax is not a permanent shift in power.  Gregor quickly reverts to his subservient role, and eventually he willingly accepts death for the family because that is what they want.  Even betrayed, Gregor sacrifices.

The resolution of the story is Gregor's death and the future promise for the rest of the family.  With the overly self-sacrificing son gone, the family has improved their own prospects and look with hope to the future.

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