The Metamorphosis Part 2, Division 1: Summary and Analysis
by Franz Kafka

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Part 2, Division 1: Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Household Cook: the woman who asks to be dismissed from her job

Part 2, Division 1 covers the action of the story from twilight of the same day to the removal of Gregor’s furniture from his room.

When Gregor wakes up it is twilight. He is immediately drawn to the smell of food in his room and sees a basin of milk with little pieces of bread floating around in it. The sight of the food makes him happy because he knows that no one else but his sister, Grete, left it for him and because she knows that milk is his favorite drink. Instead of drinking the milk, however, Gregor discovers that he has lost his appetite for it and he leaves the milk alone. He also discovers that one of his legs is seriously injured, the result of his father’s assault on him earlier that morning.

A little while later, when Grete returns to his room to check up on her brother, she notices that the milk is untouched. She removes the basin, goes out, but soon returns with a plate full of vegetables, stale cheese, some dry bread, and raisins. Gregor finds this food more to his liking, and he munches hungrily on the cheese. From then on, Gregor is fed twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Grete becomes chiefly responsible for feeding Gregor and tending to his needs.

The cook begs Gregor’s mother to let her leave the house and to quit her job. Her decision is based on the fact that she doesn’t want to be around Gregor anymore. She gives Mrs. Samsa her word of honor that she won’t say anything to anyone about Gregor. Mrs. Samsa consents and the cook leaves.

Gregor is able to overhear his father in the next room talking to his mother and sister about the family’s financial situation. He learns that his father had made some investments years before, and that he still has some money put away that the family can live on for the next year or two.

Gregor’s thoughts turn to his former life as a salesman, and he takes pride in the fact that he was able to provide for his family. He also thinks of his former business acquaintances, and he still has the fervent desire to send his sister to the conservatory to study the violin. These thoughts make him a little sad as he listens to his parents and he recalls the glory of his past life.

Grete decides that it would be best for Gregor if some of the furniture in his room was removed. This, she thinks, is in his best interest, for it would allow him greater freedom of movement. Mrs. Samsa, at first, resists Grete’s idea but she finally gives in and agrees to help her daughter in this task. Gregor, however, likes his furniture; it reminds him of his past and the warm memories associated with it. When the time comes to remove the furniture, Gregor can only look on helplessly, as his mother and sister begin to take out the chest and the writing desk. There is, however, one article in the room that Gregor will not let them have and that is the picture on the wall of the woman dressed in furs. Climbing up on the wall, Gregor spreads himself over the glass, fiercely defying his sister and mother to take the picture from him.

The time factor in this part of the story becomes a little blurred. Although it is clearly twilight of the same day when Part 2 opens, we learn that, later on, an indefinite period of time will have elapsed, perhaps a few days, perhaps longer; it isn’t clear.

In Part 2, Gregor’s health begins to deteriorate. He no longer has any taste for his favorite beverage, milk, and his badly mangled leg hampers his movement and virtually turns him into an invalid. The stage is therefore set for his total physical decline and eventual death. Also, his failing eyesight, which suggests a loss of consciousness, and his reluctance to nourish himself, symbolize his steady withdrawal from the world and intensify his alienation from the human environment.

As this section of the story opens, an eerie silence permeates the apartment. In the living room a light is...

(The entire section is 2,541 words.)