Was the insect Gregor turned into in The Metamorphosis a spider or a grasshopper?

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brendawm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've read this story many times throughout high school and college, and I am almost certain that at no time was the specific insect ever named; however, I am certain that it was not as spider, as that is an arachnid.  I will say this, though, I do remember a brilliant college professor and a lengthy discussion that seemed to lean toward the idea of a cockroach, simply based on the author's description.  If I had to choose one, I would go with that.

sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All we know is that he has a hard shell, rotund belly, and lots of little-bity legs. An image that stays in my mind is poor Gregor finding himself on his back, unable to right himself, with his little legs kicking in the air.

malibrarian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I always imagined him as a cockroach.  I don't believe he could be a spider, as he is described as an insect rather than an arachnid.  Check the link below for more information - Good luck!

grlucas eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Neither spider, grasshopper (?), nor cockroach. How about a dung beetle? This has lovely figurative connotations as well and seems the most apt given Kafka's limited description.

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it's definitely some sort of beetle. I wonder what type of beetles are most common in Prague?

petpemp | Student

My teacher said he was a roach and thaz wut i believe


kdanuelle | Student

While reading the story I pictured him to be an above average cockroach. However, the maid did call for him as a dung beetle. So now I assume since she had seen him she knew what type of insect he was.

theresa-diaz | Student

The author seemed to keep the description vague and never specified an insect in particular to leave it up to the reader's imagination and own conclusion.  He could of easily began his story with, "One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a cockroach."  However he used the term a monstrous verminous bug, mentioned a hard shell and tiny legs.  The reader is simply left to picture a giant general insect in his mind, trying to live the life Gregor Samsa once had.

thy | Student

while i was reading the book i had that same question and by the detiles that the book give it was realy hard to tell. but later my teacher told me that he had turned into a cockroach.

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The Metamorphosis

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