Someone stated that The Metamorphosis is a "triumph of the self". Do you agree with this?

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While it is hard to think that Gregor's metamorphosis into a bug is of any good, it does serve to free Gregor from the hardships and rigor of his rather meaningless life as a traveling salesman who had little connection to people his own age and who was unappreciated by his own family.  In that sense the novella could definitely be seen as a triumph of the self.  Once his ability to go to work is gone, he never comments on it again.  He is pleased that his dad can support the family, and that is the end of that. 

While there are many points of detraction from the paragraph that follows, the following points could help bolster a case for Gregor's triumph, even though in the end it is a small triumph.  For example, Gregor learns to understand himself and his abilities as a bug.  Very early on the narrator tells us that Gregor came to appreciate his ability to crawl on the ceiling! He gets over most of his personal disgust with his new form, and makes the best of his situation.  He gets to be responsible for himself -- he is picky about his meals; he likes to daydream out the window; he rushes to protect the picture from the magazine that he framed and hung on his wall when he was still human; he chooses (to some extent) to let him self die as his ultimate sacrificial act for his family.  He would have been their "meal ticket/slave" for years if he hadn't become a bug, so this gives him a different story for the end of his life.  

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The Metamorphosis

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