Why does Gregor feel guilty?

In The Metamorphosis, Gregor feels guilty because he can no longer do his job as a traveling salesman and is no longer able to support his family financially.

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Gregor feels guilty when he wakes up one morning and finds that he has transformed into a giant insect because it means that he can no longer work and financially support his family. Gregor has been working for years to both pay off his parents’ debt to his boss, the...

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Gregor feels guilty when he wakes up one morning and finds that he has transformed into a giant insect because it means that he can no longer work and financially support his family. Gregor has been working for years to both pay off his parents’ debt to his boss, the chief at his sales bureau, as well as to provide for his parents and his sister, Grete.

Gregor has essentially given up the opportunity to have his own personal life outside of his job as a traveling salesman. He thinks begrudgingly of the long hours he spends away from home, eating terrible food, never getting enough sleep, and not having any time at all to form meaningful or intimate relationships with anyone. However, when he can no longer go to work, he begins to feel guilty that he cannot support his family members and that they must go to work for themselves.

Even when he learns that his father has been secretly saving some of Gregor’s pay in case the family should ever require some ready money, rather than putting it toward the debt that Gregor is working to pay off, Gregor is relieved and happy at his father’s forethought. Gregor does experience some anger, fear, and even pride, but his guilt stems from his new inability to work and provide for his family.

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