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The Metamorphosis

by Franz Kafka
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How did Gregor's room undergo a metamorphosis, or change, from chapter 1 to chapter 2 to chapter 3 in The Metamorphosis?

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Gregor’s room at the end of the book is a far cry from the neat, ordered room it was at the beginning. The room is a reflection of Gregor himself as well as his relationships with his family members.

Gregor is a traveling salesman who is hardly ever home. In the beginning of the book, his room does not have a lived-in look, but is instead a sterile environment. There is a bed, a couch, a desk, a chest of drawers, and a framed picture of a woman from a magazine. Because much of his life is spent on the road, he has no real relationships with people, including his family members. The room, especially the picture, represents this lack of connection.

Once he has transformed, in order to protect his sister, Gregor arranges a sheet on the couch to hide himself from view. This addition to the look of the room reflects his and his family’s desire to hide from the truth. He notes that Grete seems grateful that he has put up the sheet.

Once Gregor begins to move around the room, Grete decides to remove the furniture to give him more space. She believes he has no use for the furniture, so there is no reason to leave it there. Although Gregor does protest by flattening himself against the picture, he does not win this battle, and his room is emptied. Gregor has no control over his own life, just as he never took control of it when he was human.

By the end of the book, Gregor’s room has become a storage place for unwanted items. The housekeeper throws things into the room without consideration for Gregor. The family moves furniture and other items into Gregor’s room to appease their new lodgers, who do not like clutter. Grete no longer cleans the room, so Gregor is covered in dust and dirt. The room reflects the family’s neglect of Gregor. He is one of many objects that are no longer of use to them.

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