What are the positive and negative perspectives about Gregor Samsa's change in Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis"?

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, positive and negative perspectives are revealed about Gregor Samsa’s transformation. Although his metamorphosis from human to bug appears ghastly, positive perspectives occur as well.

Beginning with the negative perspectives about Gregor Samsa’s change, Gregor experiences much alienation from his transformation. For example, after his metamorphosis, he spends much of his time alone in his room. As the story illustrates: 

“As he heard his mother’s words Gregor realized that the lack of all immediate human contact, together with the monotonous life surrounded by the family over the course of these two months must have confused his understanding, because otherwise he couldn’t explain to himself that he in all seriousness could’ve been so keen to have his room emptied.”

However, Gregor’s transformation also incites beneficial perspectives. For example, after his transformation, Gregor’s family learns how to provide for themselves. Before the transformation, the family’s financial situation depended on Gregor. However, after his transformation, his family begins to work and provide for themselves. Without the transformation, they might have never recognized their own potential and independence.

Consequently, the story offers negative and beneficial perspectives about Gregor’s transformation. Although his metamorphosis appears horrific, his family became self-sufficient and independent through this difficult situation.

Read the study guide:
The Metamorphosis

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