What are the possible meanings of the lady with fur in Kafka's novella "The Metamorphosis"? Im doing an in-detailed commentary of the first 30 lines of the story. Any advices in the tone, structure, themes and stylistic devices used by the author would be pretty useful.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Gregor Samsa works at a job he despises to support his family and he feels they do not appreciate this sacrifice. In fact, he feels it is his duty to support them and there is some honor in that, but he also feels he has no other choice because he has to pay off his parents’ debts. He feels trapped in a life where his only real connection is with his sister. As a traveling salesman, he is moving so much he can never form lasting relationships. So, he is trapped in a situation where all the money he makes goes away – to support his family. No hopes of upward mobility or promotion (his bosses don’t trust any of their employees).

The woman in the fur represents wealth and success. So, for Gregor, it is something to aspire to, but also a tease. The fur is a symbol of wealth. The woman may also represent desire for female companionship; a sex symbol. She could be a symbol of economic and romantic escape.

Gregor’s transformation is a kind of escape from his mundane life, but unfortunately an escape that reinforces his despised position. Likewise, the fur represents wealth and promise, but it is also fur from an animal. So, it could be analogous to his own transformation; the giant insect being attracted to the woman with fur, making her more animalistic, which continues what you might call a perverse fascination with the picture.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It is a kind of sad thought that Gregor has a framed picture of a woman in a fur muff on his wall, rather than the picture of a real person in his life.  It is kind of juvenile to put up a "pin-up" girl on the wall.  Because of his job, which he hates, he travels extensively and had no opportunities to hang out with people his own age and establish relationships with other young people.  Without these opportunities for friendship, it is even harder for him to find a real, live girlfriend.  He is intensely lonely.  Even though he lived with his family, he is isolated in his own room and by the cold behavior of his father.  Once he becomes a bug, the isolation is intensified.  This picture of a complete stranger is a symbol of his lack of true love and represents something of life that he will never be attain.  In a later scene, his sister tries to take the picture down, and Gregor scampers from his hiding place and throws his whole bug body over the picture to protect it.  It is the only possession from his human life that he still cares about.  That act is an example of how Gregor has not lost his humanity, even though he seems to have lost his human form.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial