In The Metamorphosis, what mixed feelings does Gregor experience when learning that his family has money?

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great question! In the book The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Gregor eventually realized that his family saved some money.

Before his transformation, Gregor worked long hours to completely provide for his family’s financial needs. Although Gregor did not enjoy his job and wished he could quit, Gregor continued to work until he no longer could (due to his transformation). As the text reveals:

"Gregor later earned so much money that he was in a position to bear the expenses of the entire family, expenses which he, in fact, did bear. They had become quite accustomed to it, both the family and Gregor as well. They took the money with thanks, and he happily surrendered it, but the special warmth was no longer present."

As a result, Gregor became greatly worried about his family’s financial affairs after his transformation. Gregor believed that his family had no savings and that his family was incapable of working. Thus, he appeared greatly excited when he realized that his family saved some money. However, he also appeared somewhat dismayed due to the fact that he could have quit his job sooner had he known about the savings. As the text shows:

“Gregor, behind his door, nodded eagerly, rejoicing over this unanticipated foresight and frugality. True, with this excess money, he could have paid off more of his father’s debt to his employer and the day on which he could be rid of this position would have been a lot closer, but now things were doubtless better the way his father had arranged them.”

Thus, Gregor experienced some mixed reactions when he learned about his family’s financial situation. Although he was excited that they had some financial provision, he wished that he could have paid off his father’s debt to his employer and quit his burdensome job faster.

Read the study guide:
The Metamorphosis

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