How does Gregor's ability to communicate change over the course of the story The Metamorphosis? What is the significance of language in this work?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One morning Gregor wakes up to discover that during the night he has transformed into a gigantic bug. There is no explanation on why this has happened to him. Gregor is a traveling salesman and his family owns a boarding house. His sister, Grete, is his closest friend. 

At first, Gregor, can talk although his voice is changing. He talks to his sister, who becomes his caretaker. The family struggles to accommodate Gregor and his changing needs. While the metamorphosis takes place, Gregor eventually loses the ability to speak. The family slowly begins to lose patience with him and his needs. Boarders come and when they see him, it frightens them, and causes them to leave. The family begins to realize that having Gregor there is hurting their livelihood. Gregor always was the one who looked after the family and now he is not able to do that. He is slowly becoming more and more depressed. The family has nothing to do with him. Grete, his constant caretaker, has given it up and the responsibility falls to the new maid. This makes Gregor realize that the family no longer needs him around.

"He must go," cried Gregor's sister, "that's the only solution, Father. You must just try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor. The fact we've believed it for so long is the root of all our troubles."

Gregor's inability to communicate now, leads to his family having resentment towards him. He realizes that he can no longer talk with his family, and he dies. Language plays a big part in this story. Now that Gregor can no longer communicate, he is left all alone. His sister, who he was once so close to, has stopped coming to see him. Language is important in any relationship, and when one stops communicating, it leads to division with the other members of the family. Here it leads to resentment and death.

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The Metamorphosis

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