In "The Metamorphosis", what is the meaning and significance of the transformation depicted by Franz Kafka?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Metamorphosis is like a nightmare from which the hero Gregor Samsa is unable to wake up. It is as if he has been dreaming that he was a disgusting insect like a cockroach and when he woke up he found that it was really true. His condition symbolizes his life. He is a wage slave with no life of his own. He is being exploited by his employer and his family, all of whom take it for granted that he is entirely obligated to them. When it develops that he is no longer able to function as the sole breadwinner of the family, their true feelings about him come out. His father especially treats him brutally and nearly kills him. Only his sister shows a little pity, Gregor learns nothing from his experience. He is willing to hide in his room and subsist on table scraps like a bug. When he dies of neglect, the family members are forced to provide for themselves and are able to do so successfully, proving that he was foolish not to have given priority to  his own welfare and happiness.

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The Metamorphosis

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