What is gregors role in the family? How is that role about to change? Why does he have so much responsiblity?  In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, why does Gregor shoulder so much responsibility...

What is gregors role in the family? How is that role about to change? Why does he have so much responsiblity?

 

In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, why does Gregor shoulder so much responsibility for the family?

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thewritingteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Up until his metamorphosis, Gregor was the sole breadwinner for the family, which consisted of his parents, his sister, and himself. Gregor's father was both demanding and demeaning, expecting Gregor to pay off his debts and support the family, even though it is traditionally the father's role to be the provider. Gregor went along, submitting to the humiliation and sacrificing his own desires to please his overbearing father.

It make the transformation into an enormous bug an interesting choice. Insects have exoskeletons, meaning they are restricted to certain and limited types of movement. Exoskeletons also mean there is no spine. Gregor certainly shows no evidence of a "spine" in our modern vernacular. He doesn't stand up to his father, nor does he refuse to pay his father's debts. He simply crawls along, doing what it expected of him even though he is miserable doing it.

Gregor's movements are also limited, both figuratively and literally. Since Gregor submits to the expectations of his father, he limits himself in career choice, lodging, and social circle. He lives at home without friends or hobbies. Once his metamorphosis occurs, he cannot easily move even to leave his bed. He is ultimately paralyzed by the exoskeleton he created first in his mind, and then in his own actuality.

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