Describe what life was like for Gregor before his metamorphosis, at home and on the job.

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Gregor had a miserable life at work and at home before his metamorphosis into an insect. At work, although he dislikes his job, he has never taken a sick day in five years. He is afraid to take one the day he turns into an insect (he does not yet...

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Gregor had a miserable life at work and at home before his metamorphosis into an insect. At work, although he dislikes his job, he has never taken a sick day in five years. He is afraid to take one the day he turns into an insect (he does not yet realize what has occurred to make him late to work), because he assumes his boss will come to his home with the doctor and accuse him of being lazy.

Gregor has missed the normal four-o'clock alarm that allows him to be up and at the train station by 5:30 a.m. He dreads the trouble he will get into when he has to face his boss, as he imagines he will later in the day. He thinks about his job:

What a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out on the road. The stresses of trade are much greater than the work going on at head office....

He has a job that he despises that causes him stress and takes up all his time. He is under-appreciated on the job despite all the hard work he does.

His family shows him very little affection. They like having his money but are more or less indifferent to him as a person. It doesn't matter to them that he is throwing his life away on work he finds meaningless as long as he provides their meal ticket. In fact, their main response when he turns into an insect is resentment, not sympathy.

In such a dehumanizing environment, it is no wonder Gregor would feel like an insect—and turn into one, as well.

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Prior to his metamorphosis into a giant bug, Gregor is miserable at his job. He thinks to himself about what a "'grueling'" job he has, and he laments

"the torture of traveling, worrying about changing trains, eating miserable food at all hours, constantly seeing new faces, no relationships that last or get more intimate."

As a traveling salesman, Gregor has been feeling that his position in the company is a lowly one; he is underappreciated and overworked by his boss. Even the ungodly hour at which he must get up every day in order to catch the train and be at work on time, he feels, would make any person "'a complete idiot.'" Worst, perhaps, is that he has no respect for himself either. "He was a tool of the boss, without brains or backbone." In short, Gregor's job makes him feel like one of the lowliest creatures on the planet, and it is, perhaps, this mental metamorphosis that precedes and precipitates his physical change.

His home life isn't much better. Despite his hard work on their behalf, his parents and sister seem to express their appreciation of it about as often as his boss. His mother even seems to think that he's a bit of a loser. She tells the manager,

"That boy has nothing on his mind but the business. It's almost begun to rile me that he never goes out nights. He's been back int he city for eight days now, but every night he's been home."

Gregor pushes himself to work more and more so that he can "make the family forget as quickly as possible the business disaster which had plunged everyone into a state of total despair." When he first begins to earn enough to support the entire family, they are all "delighted" with him, but "Those had been wonderful times, and they had never returned [...]." Despite his continuing support, "no special feeling of warmth went with [the money] any more." Alas, then, before his metamorphosis, Gregor is basically a worker, to all except his sister, and he is routinely unappreciated by everyone but Grete.

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In the “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, Gregor experiences an unhappy life at his work and home, even before his transformation. Although before the transformation, Gregor was an average human being, he did not seem to enjoy his life. Gregor seemed discontent and pressured by his work and family.

Beginning with his work, Gregor did not seem to enjoy his job of being a traveling salesman. Although Gregor made good money, he seemed dissatisfied with his job and desired to quit. However, he continued to work due to his devotion to his family. As Gregor himself illustrates:

If I didn’t hold back for my parents’ sake, I would’ve quit ages ago. I would’ve gone to the boss and told him just what I think from the bottom of my heart. He would’ve fallen right off his desk!

Not only does Gregor seem dissatisfied at work, but he also seems unhappy at home. Gregor provides financially for his family and is proud of himself for that accomplishment. However, even before the transformation, he lead a quiet and fairly isolated life. Furthermore, he felt pressured by his family to provide without feeling much closeness with his family, except from his sister. As the story shows:

They took the money with thanks, and he happily surrendered it, but the special warmth was no longer present.

Thus, although Gregor was financially stable and worked arduously, he did not feel happiness or contentment. Gregor expressed much desire to leave his job and he lacked a closeness to his family, especially with his parents. His life problems only increased after his transformation. 

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