In "The Metamorphosis," what does Gregor's lack of curiosity about his condition suggest about him?When Gregor wakes to discover he has become a gigantic insect, he is mostly intent on the...

In "The Metamorphosis," what does Gregor's lack of curiosity about his condition suggest about him?

When Gregor wakes to discover he has become a gigantic insect, he is mostly intent on the practical implications of his metamorphosis--how to get out of bed, how to get to his job, and so forth--he never wonders why or how he has been changed. What does this odd reaction suggest about Gregor?

Asked on by gll391412

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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My own personal theory about this rather curious point is that the focus of the story is not necessarily on the transformation of Gregor Samsa into some disgusting example of vermin. Rather, the focus of the story is the way that Gregor has always been treated like some disgusting insect, both in his work and in his family, and that this transformation doesn't actually change that much. This is why Gregor is not curious about his condition--he has experienced being reviled and shunned by society both through his job and in the way that his family are dependent upon him. Note how he talks about his work and how he is a slave to it in so many ways:

"If I weren't holding back because of my parents, I would have given notice long ago, I would have marched straight up to the boss and told him off from the bottom of my heart. He would have toppled from his desk! Besides, it's so peculiar the way he seats himself on it and talks down to the employees from a great height, and we also have to get right up close because he's so hard of hearing. Well, I haven't abandoned all hope; once I've saved enough to pay off my parents' debt to him--that should take another five or six years--I'll go through with it no matter what."

We see therefore that the lack of curiosity that Gregor displays about his condition only reinforces the way that he has metaphorically been an insect for so many years of his life. His physical transformation only confirms this state. Kafka thus develops his portrait of a man crushed and shunned by society.

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