The Metamorphosis Questions and Answers
by Franz Kafka

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What might have made Gregor feel dehumanized even before the metamorphosis took place?  

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Prior to his metamorphosis into a giant bug, Gregor seems to have felt dehumanized by his unsatisfying and demoralizing job. He thinks of himself as "the boss's minion, without backbone or intelligence." All he ever does it work, "Day in, day out on the road," unable to make or keep fulfilling relationships, eating terrible food, and so forth. He has never even been sick before in these last five years of working; it's as though such a thing would be an impossibility. His mother even tells the manager who comes to collect him that Gregor "never goes out at night." He seems to have no real life outside of work; work is what occupies him and defines him all the time. In fact, the more we learn about Gregor's life before his physical transformation, the more it sounds as though he had already mentally metamorphosed into the insect. Perhaps we only witness Gregor's physical transformation, a shift that follows the mental transformation he's already undergone as a result of his alienation from...

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