How does Gregor Samsa’s identity change as the novella progresses? In what ways does he keep his humanity?

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In the first chapter, Gregor is really mostly concerned about keeping his job and defending himself against his manager's accusations. Although he is surprised and offended by the manager's harsh words that reflect poorly on Gregor's work performance, he

realized that he must on no account let the manager go...

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In the first chapter, Gregor is really mostly concerned about keeping his job and defending himself against his manager's accusations. Although he is surprised and offended by the manager's harsh words that reflect poorly on Gregor's work performance, he

realized that he must on no account let the manager go away in this mood if his position in the firm were not to be jeopardized in the extreme . . . The manager must be detained, calmed down, convinced, and finally won over; Gregor's and the family's future depended on it.

His identity seems so tied up with his job, as though he has no worth or value without his ability to make money for his family, but Gregor clearly cares deeply about his family and their well-being. He knows that they depend on him, and wants them to be secure. These relationships form the other major part of his identity.

In the second chapter, Gregor has accepted that his life as a salesman is over, but he experiences "feeling[s] of shame" as a result of the "inconvenience which is simply had to cause [his family] in his present condition." His relationship with his sister, and her expression of love (via the food she presents him) seems to keep him connected to his humanity. His work is no longer a part of his identity, but his family is.

By the third chapter, he is "completely filled with rage at [the] miserable treatment" he receives from his family, especially considering how Grete's "irritableness . . . had in fact infected the whole family." His relationships with his family have completely broken down. They toss whatever needs a place into his room, and "It hardly surprised him that lately he was showing so little consideration for the others; once such consideration had been his greatest pride." Once he became "useless" and could not work, Gregor turned into a burden, and now he is treated so unkindly by his family that he feels more and more alienated from them and from his original identity and humanity. In the end, "He thought back on his family with deep emotion and love," though it seems more like a memory of what their relationship used to be like than how it is now. He retains just this shred of his humanity.

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As the novella progresses, Gregor Samsa identifies more and more with his body, and less with his mind. He begins to prioritize the basic needs of his insect body (i.e. food, healing from injury, adequate space for crawling). At the same time, he begins to pay less attention to so-called "higher" or "human" priorities: such as his social status, job, and professional aspirations.

Generally speaking, Gregor becomes more accepting of his insect-ness, and less concerned with retrieving his humanity. This shift is demonstrated in a number of ways. He stops asking about his job, for example. When moved to a bigger room, he shows pleasure at having more space to crawl and stretch his insect limbs. Thoughts of his humanity recede into the background of his mind.

Despite this change in priority, Gregor keeps his humanity till the very end. The way that he maintains his humanity is by continuing to care about the people he loves. In particular, he continues to show gentleness, consideration, and concern for his sister. He agonizes over her struggles. The anguish he experinces isn't only from being transformed into a huge bug; it's also from seeing his family and in particular his sister suffer loosing him. In the end, Gregor decided to stop eating, stop moving, and simply die; to relieve his sister from the burdens of caring for him. This act of self-sacrifice is very human indeed. 

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