The protagonist of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis is a traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa. Gregor works hard every day to support his parents and sister. He hates his job and the loneliness and isolation that accompany it. He is cannot develop any meaningful relationships due to the nature of...
The protagonist of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis is a traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa. Gregor works hard every day to support his parents and sister. He hates his job and the loneliness and isolation that accompany it. He is cannot develop any meaningful relationships due to the nature of his job, and as a result, he has no friends or social life. Meanwhile, his family enjoys the fruits of his labor. They have extravagant breakfasts, multiple newspaper subscriptions, jewelry, and a house staff. Gregor's family is not particularly loving toward him before his transformation, and their treatment of him becomes outright abusive after his metamorphosis.
After Gregor morphs into a bug, his father is cruel to him, threatens him with violence, and even attacks him. His mother and sister attempt to care for Gregor at first, bringing him food and clearing furniture out of his room so he will have more space to comfortably crawl and climb. Before long, these acts of kindness are replaced with revulsion and resentment. The Samsas are frustrated at having to work and support themselves now that Gregor is unable to financially provide for the family. They come to view him as a burden who has outlived his purpose. Their poor treatment of Gregor escalates after the three boarders are introduced.
In an attempt to alleviate their financial distress, the Samsas rent out parts of their house to three tenants. The Samsas take great measures to ensure the comfort and contentment of their new guests, often at Gregor's expense. Gregor's family uses his room for storage in order to make space for the boarders. They dump unwanted and unneeded items in his room, which is symbolic, as Gregor himself has become unwanted and unneeded in their eyes.
The Samsas neglect to bring food to Gregor but work hard cooking for the lodgers; Gregor says, "How these lodgers stuff themselves, and I am dying." Prior to the arrival of the three guests, the door to Gregor's room was often left open. Now the door is almost always closed to keep Gregor's existence a secret.
While the Samsas dedicate great time and effort to the comfort of the lodgers, Gregor deteriorates and starves. He is left dirty, uncared for, and neglected:
Because as a result of the dust which lay all over his room and flew around with the slightest movement, he was totally covered in dirt. On his back and his sides, he carted around with him dust, threads, hair, and remnants of food.