illustration of a giant insect with the outline of a man in a suit standing within the confines of the insect

The Metamorphosis

by Franz Kafka

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The impact of Gregor's transformation on his family relationships and dynamics in The Metamorphosis


Gregor's transformation drastically alters his family relationships and dynamics. Initially, his family is shocked and repulsed. Over time, they become increasingly resentful and neglectful, as Gregor's condition imposes a financial and emotional burden. His sister, who initially cares for him, eventually grows distant. Ultimately, Gregor's presence leads to a complete breakdown in family unity, culminating in his alienation and demise.

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What does Gregor's transformation reveal about his life and relationship with his family in The Metamorphosis?

Interesting questions! In Franz Kafka’s story “The Metamorphosis” the unusual events and attitudes incite numerous questions in the readers’ minds. Although the book was first published over a hundred years ago, questions still remain about the characters and events in “The Metamorphosis.” For example, some readers still discuss Gregor’s transformation, his relationship with his family, and even his death.

Beginning with Gregor’s transformation, Gregor suddenly transformed from a human into a bug. When Gregor awoke one morning, he discovered that he had transformed overnight. Although this startling and monolithic transformation would have shocked numerous individuals, Gregor appeared to merely continue with his day, focusing on the stress of work and other daily struggles. As his own thoughts reveal:

“what a demanding job I’ve chosen! Day in, day out on the road. The stresses of trade are much greater than the work going on at head office, and, in addition to that, I have to deal with the problems of traveling, the worries about train connections, irregular bad food, temporary and constantly changing human relationships which never come from the heart.”

This reaction to the transformation illustrates Gregor’s profound focus on the providing for his family. He had lost his sight of enjoying life or even his own self-worth. Instead, he prioritized his life around work and providing for his family.

Throughout the story, it is revealed that Gregor provided for his family. Although he despised his job, he continued to work to meet his family’s financial needs. Despite this concern for his family’s well-being, Gregor failed to demonstrate a closeness with his family. For example, he did not realize some of the more intimate knowledge about his loved ones, such as their true financial situation and their ability for self-independence. As Gregor’s thoughts reveal, he believed that his father was too old, his mother was too frail, and his sister was too young to work. However, when Gregor was no longer able to work, they all started working and expressed their own independence. As the text reveals:

"Gregor found out clearly enough (for his father tended to repeat himself often in his explanations, partly because he had not personally concerned himself with these matters for a long time now, and partly also because his mother did not understand everything right away the first time) that, in spite all bad luck, a fortune, although a very small one, was available from the old times, which the interest (which had not been touched) had in the intervening time gradually allowed to increase a little. Furthermore, in addition to this, the money which Gregor had brought home every month (he had kept only a few florins for himself) had not been completely spent and had grown into a small capital amount."

Lastly, readers have argued about Gregor’s death for many years. Although his death seems rather abrupt, there are other factors to consider. Foremost, Gregor did not seem to value his own life. At the story’s beginning, Gregor was not concerned about his own transformation or its impact on him, but rather he focused on supporting his family and his job. Thus, when he realized that he was a burden to his family, he no longer had a desire to live. As the text explains:

“But Gregor did not have any notion of wishing to create problems for anyone and certainly not for his sister.”

Thus, after he realized this, Gregor passed away. His injuries and lack of nourishment, which had been ignored, finally stopped aching and he slipped into a state of peace. As the text illustrates:

“The rotten apple in his back and the inflamed surrounding area, entirely covered with white dust, he hardly noticed. He remembered his family with deep feeling and love. In this business, his own thought that he had to disappear was, if possible, even more decisive than his sister’s. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful reflection until the tower clock struck three o’clock in the morning. From the window he witnessed the beginning of the general dawning outside. Then without willing it, his head sank all the way down, and from his nostrils flowed out weakly out his last breath."

Therefore, Gregor’s life and death incite numerous questions into the readers’ minds. However, when considering the book’s entirety, the ending provides a fairly satisfactory death for Gregor. Throughout his life, he supported his family to the point of neglecting himself and (after realizing his burden on the family) he offered the same sacrifice in his death.

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How does Gregor's transformation in The Metamorphosis change his relationship with his family?

Your original question did not really make much sense, so I have edited it to make it hopefully more understandable, both to you and to me. Well, it is quite clear that Gregor's transformation has wrought significant changes in his relations with his family. Although his sister at first tries to show love and kindness to Gregor, finding him food that he will eat, she later regards him with hatred. It is she that confronts the facts and also forces her parents to confront them as well when she says:

"My dear parents... things cannot go on like this. You may not realise it, but I do. I will not pronounce my brother's name in front of this monstrosity, and so all I will say is: We must try to get rid of it. We have done everything humanly possible to look after it and put up with it; I do not believe there is anything we can be reproached for."

This, of course, is the ultimate betrayal that arguably is responsible for Gregor's death as he faces the way that even the most seemingly stable and solid affections have turned against him thanks to his transformation.

Of course, although it is his mother who is dragged along by the will of the others, his father, from the first day, makes his animosity known towards his son. Note how he tries to crush Gregor. Gregor reflects on the size of his father's boot soles, but not for long:

But he did not dwell on this; after all, from the very first day of his new life, he had known that the father viewed only the utmost severity as appropriate for dealing with him.

Above all, the change in relationship is characterised by the way in which the family celebrate and are happy when Gregor finally dies and leaves them to focus on the future and live a happy life.

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How do Gregor's family members react to his transformation in The Metamorphosis?

All of the family members in Kafka's The Metamorphosis receive quite a shock upon seeing Gregor's transformation. Their reactions to him and how they choose to deal with the situation all betray their relationships with him, revealing what they actually feel about the young man.

His sister is the only family member to come to his aid, asking if he has become ill. She immediately tries to console him and help him, if at all possible. Grete, the sister, begins collecting foods she believes he may now be interested in after his transformation, so that he can eat and be comfortable—including decayed vegetables, cheese, old leftovers and bones that had begun to harden.

His mother, Mrs. Samsa, is distressed at the transformation, overwhelmed by emotion and grief. She tries her best to console him and help him, but she can't bear to look at him. In her grief, she tries her best to act with motherly affection, but has a difficult time overcoming his appearance.

Gregor's father, Mr. Samsa, is unkind and rude—even to the point of abusive. Mr. Samsa has been accustomed to Gregor taking care of the family—working for wages and paying for their lives. He is outraged with the transformation, primarily because it means Gregor can't help them anymore.

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How do Gregor's family members react to his transformation in The Metamorphosis?

In Kafka's The Metamorphosis, the reactions of the family members is different and similar.

When it is discovered that Gregor has changed, at first his sister, Grete, is the only one that comes to his aid:

Gregor, aren't you well? Are you needing anything?

She tries to find foods that he will like:

...old half-decayed vegetables, bones from last night's supper covered with a white sauce that had thickened; some raisins and some almonds; a piece of cheese…

Grete talks to him and she still seems to care for him, however then she becomes controlling, claiming Gregor's care as her individual right, even though she is not committed to helping him in doing so. She gets a job and cares for Gregor, resenting her mother's attempts to help her brother—but then she finally detests Gregor and insists that they get rid of him.

Mrs. Samsa is overwrought by what has happened to her son.

Do let me in to Gregor, he is my unfortunate son! Can't you understand that I must go to him?

She tries to be supportive, but cannot bear to look at him. Entering his room ends up being too difficult for her. She tries on several occasions to defend Gregor, in maintaining that he should have his furniture when Grete wants it removed, and trying also to stand up for him when Grete suggests they get rid of him, but she is too weak and becomes ill. Though she cannot look at him, it seems she still has a mother's love for him.

Mr. Samsa is cruel and angry. Of all of them, he is the one who has most become used to Gregor working so hard and handing them his money so that they may all live a life of leisure while Gregor continues to support them. It is when Gregor can no longer do so because of his metamorphosis, that his family begins to reject him.

Gregor's father is the one who becomes violent. When Gregor first leaves his room, Mr. Samsa's behavior (waving a newspaper and a cane and making noises) frightens him so that Gregor pushes himself through the narrow door to his room, scraping himself and harming parts of this "body." When the women try to move Gregor's furniture out, Samsa believes Gregor has done something terrible and begins throwing apples at him: one that painfully lodges in Gregor's back.

An apple thrown without much force grazed Gregor's back and glanced off harmlessly. But another following immediately landed right on his back and sank in; Gregor wanted to drag himself forward, as if this startling, incredible pain could be left behind him; but he felt as if nailed to the spot…

Mr. Samsa and Grete don't have a problem with Gregor until he is no longer of financial use to them. Ironically, before Gregor's "illness," Grete is considered something of a waste: she does nothing. When Gregor is changed, slowly she becomes the favored child. By the end, she becomes more "valuable," as the family, released from worries about Gregor, goes out for the day and realizes that Grete is of an age to marry. It is not for her happiness that the family is pleased, but more because she will be able to find someone else to support the family while they continue to live a life of leisure. Though Gregor appears "monstrous," his family members are truly the parasites. By the end of the story, Grete and Mr. Samsa want Gregor gone. Mrs. Samsa cares for her son, but cannot stand up to Grete.

Gregor dies alone and detested: had he been able to go to work as a giant insect, I expect the family would have been able to tolerate him.

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How do Gregor's family members react to his transformation in The Metamorphosis?

The protagonist of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis is a traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa. Gregor works hard every day to support his parents and sister. He hates his job and the loneliness and isolation that accompany it. He is cannot develop any meaningful relationships due to the nature of his job, and as a result, he has no friends or social life. Meanwhile, his family enjoys the fruits of his labor. They have extravagant breakfasts, multiple newspaper subscriptions, jewelry, and a house staff. Gregor's family is not particularly loving toward him before his transformation, and their treatment of him becomes outright abusive after his metamorphosis.

After Gregor morphs into a bug, his father is cruel to him, threatens him with violence, and even attacks him. His mother and sister attempt to care for Gregor at first, bringing him food and clearing furniture out of his room so he will have more space to comfortably crawl and climb. Before long, these acts of kindness are replaced with revulsion and resentment. The Samsas are frustrated at having to work and support themselves now that Gregor is unable to financially provide for the family. They come to view him as a burden who has outlived his purpose. Their poor treatment of Gregor escalates after the three boarders are introduced.

In an attempt to alleviate their financial distress, the Samsas rent out parts of their house to three tenants. The Samsas take great measures to ensure the comfort and contentment of their new guests, often at Gregor's expense. Gregor's family uses his room for storage in order to make space for the boarders. They dump unwanted and unneeded items in his room, which is symbolic, as Gregor himself has become unwanted and unneeded in their eyes.

The Samsas neglect to bring food to Gregor but work hard cooking for the lodgers; Gregor says, "How these lodgers stuff themselves, and I am dying." Prior to the arrival of the three guests, the door to Gregor's room was often left open. Now the door is almost always closed to keep Gregor's existence a secret.

While the Samsas dedicate great time and effort to the comfort of the lodgers, Gregor deteriorates and starves. He is left dirty, uncared for, and neglected:

Because as a result of the dust which lay all over his room and flew around with the slightest movement, he was totally covered in dirt. On his back and his sides, he carted around with him dust, threads, hair, and remnants of food.

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How do Gregor's family members react to his transformation in The Metamorphosis?

Mr. Samsa, Gregor's father, is completely repulsed by Gregor's transformation. He, in spirit, has already disowned Gregor. The apple-throwing incident, in which an apple Mr. Samsa throws becomes lodged in Gregor's back, is the culmination of his hatred towards what Gregor has become.

Grete, Gregor's sister, is initially almost martyr-like in her devotion and duty towards Gregor, but being young and full of life, she quickly tires of looking after him, and starts to feel resentful toward him.

Mrs. Samsa, Gregor's mother, never falters in her love for him, yet she cannot bear the sight of him after his transformation. She faints whenever she sees his insect form.

What is similar in Gregor's family's reactions is the sense of relief they experience once they finally get rid of him.

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How does Gregor's family's treatment of him change after his metamorphosis?

While Gregor's family never cares for him, they at least treat him like a human before his change; after his change, they're increasingly cruel and distant.

Gregor's family puts up with him before his metamorphosis because he takes over as the provider for his family. The relationship between them isn't warm, but at least they give him some respect so that he'll continue paying for them to live. When they think he's going to be late to work, they check to make sure he goes. Even though his father doesn't work, he still has a warning in his voice when he tries to get his son up.

Later, however, they start to treat him worse. His father chases him back into the room with a newspaper. He eventually injures him by throwing a piece of fruit at him that causes an infection. His parents and sister are all now working and getting an income since he can't anymore.

Even Grete is eventually unsympathetic to her brother. She was likely the family member he was closest to, but caring for him is a burden to her. She eventually tells her parents she wants them to get rid of Gregor. He decides that dying is the best thing he can do for them, and he does.

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How does Gregor's family's treatment of him change after his metamorphosis?

Before his metamorphosis, Gregor is exploited by his family as he is the only one who works; afterwards, when he changes and can no longer work, they become cruel and are repulsed by him because of his hideous appearance and because he is a disgrace to his family.

An absurdly comical meditation upon the human state of alienation, guilt, and insufficiency, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is a bizarre tale of a young man who transforms into a bug in which apples hurled at him stick in his casing and he is imprisoned in his own room. Georg Samka awakens into a surrealistic dream world, and he receives little sympathy from anyone, even though he has sacrificed for years his own desires so that his sister can attend the Conservatory and study music.

Yet, his transformation may also be due to his desires to be freed of the responsibilities that should be his father's, his hatred for his job and the drudgery attached to it, and his resentment for the rest of the family's exploitation of him and their irresponsibility in not contributing to the family income.

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How does Gregor's family's treatment of him change after his metamorphosis?

Gregor lives with his mother, father, and sister (Grete). One morning, he wakes up and realizes that he has transformed into a bug. As he ponders what to do, his family comes to his door, reminding him that it is time to get up and start his day. Because he does not get out of bed, he is late for work. The chief clerk comes to his house to question why he did not leave on the early train. Through all of this, Gregor's mother insists that Gregor is sick, and the chief clerk insists that, whether sick or not, business and work are priorities.

Finally, Gregor decides to try to get out of bed, although he is a giant bug. He has been talking with with his family and the chief clerk through the door but has not tried to get out of his bed until now. After he falls from the bed, he tries to talk to his family and the chief clerk, but this time he makes mere bug noises:

"Quick, get the doctor. Did you hear the way Gregor spoke just now?"

"That was the voice of an animal", said the chief clerk, with a calmness that was in contrast with his mother's screams.

Immediately, the house is in an uproar as they try to find out how to get to Gregor. (And, they haven't even seen his bug-self yet.)

After great effort, Gregor manages to open the door. Upon seeing him, the chief clerk shouts out, "oh!" and his family responds with even greater shock:

Gregor's mother, her hair still dishevelled . . . unfolded her arms, took two steps forward towards Gregor and sank down onto the floor into her skirts . . . His father looked hostile, and clenched his fists as if wanting to knock Gregor back into his room

His mother goes into a state of immediate shock, falling down in weakness as she witnesses Gregor in his bug form. His father grows angry, with his fists clenched, as he aggressively urges Gregor back to the confines of his room. The chief clerk storms out of the building looking afraid, and Gregor retreats to his bedroom.

The only kindness Gregor receives after his transformation is from his sister. When he wakes up from his deep sleep he finds a plate of food:

By the door there was a dish filled with sweetened milk with little pieces of white bread floating in it. He was so pleased he almost laughed, as he was even hungrier than he had been that morning . . . . But he soon drew his head back again in disappointment . . . the milk did not taste at all nice.

Gregor leaves the food where it was placed; as a bug, Gregor is much more interested in rotten foods than fresh foods. Gregor's sister soon realizes this and begins to bring him the rotten, smelly foods that he desires. Immediately after his transformation, Grete attempts to show Gregor kindness.

However, as the novella continues, Grete grows less patient with Gregor and her kind acts change. First she neglects him; later, her growing anger and frustration becomes evident. She tells her father:

It's got to go . . . that's the only way, Father. You've got to get rid of the idea that that's Gregor. We've only harmed ourselves by believing it for so long.

Gregor, once the financial provider and leader of his household, is transformed into a helpless creature who depends on others for his survival. He loses his job and seemingly loses the affections of his mother and father upon his transformation into a bug. When he remains a bug, even his sister stops showing him kindness. Grete, meanwhile, goes through her own sort of metamorphosis from a carefree young lady with plenty of leisure time to practice her violin to a woman called upon to help provide for her family's finances.

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What is Gregor's role in his family and how does it change in The Metamorphosis?

As gpane's very clear and thorough answer shows, Gregor brings in the only income in the single-income family, supporting his mother, father and sister.

The pressure on him suggests the family's lack of resources and, perhaps, its lack of resourcefulness. Should we see the Samsa family as lacking imagination or should we see them as a family that would like to shirk work? Should we see them as a family adhering to social forms and so unwilling to entertain the notion that anyone but the lone son should be a part of the labor force? 

There is an implication that the family is concerned with perceived social forms in addition to its practical concerns. 

"...what mainly prevented the family from moving was their complete hopelessness and the thought that they had been struck by a misfortune as none of their relatives and acquaintances had ever been hit."

Gregor's disturbing transformation is socially awkward, of course, but its greatest impact is a negative shift in the family's financial situation. This fact is arguably the most prominent element of the story and informs Gregor's emotional situation to a considerable degree. 

The family's willingness to rely on Gregor - then turn on him - suggests a willingness to also exploit him. However we characterize the family's mentality, the fact remains that when we meet them they rely on an implied assertion - only Gregor should work. 

The firm he works for appears as demanding as the family. 

"What a fate: to be condemned to work for a firm where the slightest negligence at once gave rise to the gravest suspicion!"

Gregor's value as a person, it seems, is derived entirely from his willingness to submit to toil. Taken for granted as a wage-earner and as an employee, Gregor is just a "bug" in the system, as it were, identified with a function and not attributed any qualities of humanity. While we may certainly want to be more sympathetic to the family in reading the story, there is ample evidence to suggest that the commercial and social expectations of the family lack a sense of humanity and instead focus on the perfunctory and the superficial. 

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What is Gregor's role in his family and how does it change in The Metamorphosis?

As the previous answer makes clear, Gregor is the breadwinner of the family, and so the pressures on him are enormous. We see this at the very beginning of the story when, even after his inexplicable transformation his main concern still seems to be about his work. He muses about how much he hates his job yet he frets that he can't get there on time and is worried about his probable dismissal.

We can gauge right away, then, from his reaction to his metamorphosis, when he continues to focus on his work rather than on the startling fact that he is now a giant bug, how much he struggles under the weight of his responsibility. The family are dependent on him and the job itself seems to exert a great pressure on him. It seems that neither in his family nor at work does he have any meaningful contact whereby he can express what he really feels. It has been observed that his bizarre transformation perhaps occurs as a result of a subconscious desire to be rid of his responsibilities. If he is a giant bug, obviously he can no longer be expected to go to work.

After his change, from having a central role in the family, Gregor ends up with no role at all - unless it is to be a source of amazement, disgust and ridicule. His father, for whom he has done so much, appears unsympathetic from the start. It is only his sister Grete that actively helps him for a while, venturing into the room in which he has been secluded, feeding him and so on. But even she ends up turning against him. It is after this final rejection that Gregor decides it'd be better for all concerned if he were to die. He does just that, and subsequently the family appear to have a sense of great release and relief; they go on an excursion in the country and Grete blossoms out into a beautiful young woman. 

It seems, then, that Gregor was much put-upon and personally not much valued by his family, although they relied so much on his duties as the breadwinner, and that he himself was fed up having to do so much for them. His death appears to be a great release for both his family and himself. He is finally freed from his burdensome role as the central, yet under-appreciated cog in the family wheel.

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What is Gregor's role in his family and how does it change in The Metamorphosis?

We are told that Gregor has the job of working as a travelling salesman so that he can support the rest of his family, his parents and his sister, who do not work. Thus his job is incredibly important to all of their well-being, which perhaps explains how upset and concerned his parents and Grete are when he is unable to get himself out of bed and misses his train at the beginning of the novel. However, it is obvious that Gregor does not enjoy his job. He feels "condemned" to work there and finds it very exhausting and soul destroying. He is an example of a man who is ground down by an impersonal job that forces him to engage in work he has little care for, yet he has no escape. Note what he "says" to his superior:

"And then, I have to take care of my parents and my sister. I'm in a tight spot, but still I'll work my way out again. So please don't make things more difficult for me than they already are."

We see a man who is forced into a job to support his dependent family without any liking for this job, yet with no escape.

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What is Gregor's role in his family and how does it change in The Metamorphosis?

Up until his metamorphosis, Gregor was the sole breadwinner for the family, which consisted of his parents, his sister, and himself. Gregor's father was both demanding and demeaning, expecting Gregor to pay off his debts and support the family, even though it is traditionally the father's role to be the provider. Gregor went along, submitting to the humiliation and sacrificing his own desires to please his overbearing father.

It make the transformation into an enormous bug an interesting choice. Insects have exoskeletons, meaning they are restricted to certain and limited types of movement. Exoskeletons also mean there is no spine. Gregor certainly shows no evidence of a "spine" in our modern vernacular. He doesn't stand up to his father, nor does he refuse to pay his father's debts. He simply crawls along, doing what it expected of him even though he is miserable doing it.

Gregor's movements are also limited, both figuratively and literally. Since Gregor submits to the expectations of his father, he limits himself in career choice, lodging, and social circle. He lives at home without friends or hobbies. Once his metamorphosis occurs, he cannot easily move even to leave his bed. He is ultimately paralyzed by the exoskeleton he created first in his mind, and then in his own actuality.

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Why does the relationship between Grete and Gregor change in The Metamorphosis?

After Gregor turns into an insect, he can no longer work. This creates financial problems for the family, as without his income, they barely have enough money to make ends meet. Gregor's father already has a job in a bank, his sister works, and his mother has been taking in sewing all along to earn money, but now they all have to do more work. They also have to get rid of their servant, which adds to the labor that Grete and her mother have to do to keep the household clean and running.

Grete's relationship to Gregor changes because she is constantly tired from overwork and no longer perceives Gregor as a human being. She resents being the person who has to bring Gregor his meals and clean his room—two jobs that nobody else wants to do. Because they can no longer talk and relate as they used to do, the exhausted Grete begins to neglect Gregor. She shoves his food in his room and runs off to work. She doesn't clean his room properly, letting balls of dirt accumulate. She also begins to complain to her parents about having to take care of him. Only the charwoman, brought in a few hours a day to do the heaviest labor, treats Gregor decently.

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In The Metamorphosis, how does Gregor's changed voice affect his family and himself?

The Metamorphosis is an argueably nihilist work by Franz Kafka about an ordinary man who turns into a giant insect, and how his transformation affects his family life.

One of the major changes Gregor suffers is to his voice; no longer able to communicate as a human, he strives to make his new insect voice audible to his family. It seems at first that his voice is the last thing to change; after waking, Gregor communicates (sight unseen) with his family and is upset to discover that his voice has started to deteriorate, with an unintelligible squeaking overpowering his articulation. After his revelation, Gregor makes a speech explaining his desire to go to work, but it is unclear how much, if any, is intelligible.

It was clearly and unmistakably his earlier voice, but in it was intermingled, as if from below, an irrepressibly painful squeaking...
"For God's sake," cried the mother, already in tears. "Perhaps he's very ill, and we're upsetting him." [...] "Have you heard Gregor speak yet?" "That was an animal's voice," said the attorney.
(Kafka, The Metamorphosis, eNotes eText)

Gregor's voice is perhaps the last vestige of his true humanity, as after his family understands his transformation, they treat him entirely as an unintelligent creature rather than as their relative. The only time someone truly shows Gregor compassion is after his father attacks him with apples, and his sister, understanding that Gregor is still her brother, defends him. Gregor stops trying to communicate and begins to accept his role as an animal; his voice, one of the defining factors of sentient creatures, is the last thing with which he defends his humanity. When Gregor's voice fails, his humanity similarly ends, and his family abandons their worry and care in favor of disgust.

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How does Gregor’s relationship with his family change or remain constant in The Metamorphosis?

Gregor Samsa goes through a horrifying experience: he wakes up transformed into a bug.

"One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug."

This strange and incomprehensible change causes his relationship with his family to shift throughout the story.

At the start of the story, soon after Gregor wakes as a bug, his parents (especially his mother) begin to distance themselves from him. At first, Gregor's mother tries to wake him up for work with a "soft voice." She shows tenderness and love for her son. After she sees him in his bug form, her treatment of her son changes. As he rocks quietly near his mother in his bug form she cries out, "Help, for God's sake help!" Her fear of her bug-son is so great that she "collapsed into the arms of [Gregor's] father." His mother grows afraid of Gregor in his new form.

Gregor's relationship with his sister changes greatly throughout the plot as well. At the beginning, soon after Gregor transforms into a bug, his sister treats him with sympathy and compassion. She "had already cried while Gregor was still lying quietly on his back." Her emotional response (crying) seems to show concern for Gregor's well-being.

In part II, Gregor's sister brings him food. First, she tries sweetened milk and white bread. (This is known to be Gregor's favorite dish as a human.) However, he does not enjoy this dish as a bug. His sister then begins to bring him decomposing foods that a bug would like:

There were old half-rotten vegetables, bones from the evening meal, covered with a white sauce which had almost solidified, some raisins and almonds, cheese, which Gregor had declared inedible two days earlier, a slice of dry bread, a slice of salted bread smeared with butter . . .

Early in the story, Gregor's sister (Grete) goes to great lengths to make sure her bug-brother finds foods that he likes to eat.

However, her kindness toward her brother lessens. Midway through the story, Grete first speaks to Gregor (as a bug) while he is on a wall. His appearance upsets her mother; Grete seeks to keep Gregor far away from his mother:

"Gregor, you . . . ," cried out his sister with a raised fist and an urgent glare. Since his transformation those were the first words which she had directed right at him.

These words, instead of showing concern toward Gregor, show some aggression and possibly fear toward him. Grete is thinking more about her mother's happiness than Gregor's needs.

By the end of the story, Gregor's sister is entirely distanced from her brother. She no longer shows any concern for his well-being. Grete explains to her parents,

"My dear parents . . . things cannot go on any longer in this way. Maybe if you don't understand that, well, I do. I will not utter my brother's name in front of this monster, and thus I say only that we must try to get rid of it. We have tried what is humanly possible to take care of it and be patient . . . We must try to get rid of it," the sister now said decisively to the father . . .

Grete urges her parents to "get rid of" Gregor, the bug. She no longer wants her bug-brother living in their house. She no longer wants to provide for his needs. She shows no kindness toward her brother at the end of the story.

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How does Gregor’s relationship with his family change or remain constant in The Metamorphosis?

Interesting question! In the story the “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, the profound transformation of Gregor causes many of his relationships to alter while some components remain. Some of the main ways this is seen is through Gregor’s dependence on and distance from his family.

Beginning with Gregor’s dependence, after Gregor’s transformation, he is forced to rely completely on his family to meet his needs. Before his transformation, Gregor provided for his family’s financial situation. However, after his transformation, Gregor was forced to depend on them. For example, he daily relied on them to bring his food and even to clean his room.

On the other hand, some components remained the same with Gregor’s relationship with his family. In the past, he was unable to connect with his family due to his responsibilities and focus on work. As a result, he did not know much about his family, such as their daily routines, their abilities, or even their complete financial situation.  After his transformation, he was forced to stay home, which was physically closer to his family. Despite this physical closeness, he still felt a great distance due to his inability to communicate with them. As the story reveals:

“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.”

Thus, Gregor’s transformation incites much change in his life. Although his relationship with his family alters in some ways, he still feels a distance with them. Unfortunately, this distance cannot be removed and remains throughout the story.

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How does Gregor's transformation in The Metamorphosis reflect his family's power struggle?

Gregor's transformation into a bug reveals the extent his family exploited him economically. In fact, the way in which one by one his family members—first his father, then his mother, and finally his sister —abandon all care and concern for him as a bug shows that he is worthless to them if he cannot perform the function of bringing in a salary. In other words, there is no deeper love for his spirit—all that matters to his family is his role as breadwinner.

Whereas Gregor may have always suspected the power dynamic of his family "using" him for his job, it is only with his transformation that it becomes blatantly clear that he means nothing else to them. Gregor is therefore at the bottom of the financial hierarchy of his family. At the top are his parents, particularly his father who is the most disgusted by his transformation and who does not even pretend to care for him once he loses his job. This structure can be considered a critique of capitalism as an economic system, as those at the top completely exploit those at the bottom in order to gain a surplus of value. Gregor is exploited by the authoritarian "boss", who is his father. Moreover, at the very end of the story, the parents have moved on to the exploitation of their other child, Grete. The final lines of the story indicate they are now plotting how to marry her off:

Mr. and Mrs. Samsa were struck, almost simultaneously, with the thought of how their daughter was blossoming into a well built and beautiful young lady. They became quieter. Just from each other's glance and almost without knowing it they agreed that it would soon be time to find a good man for her.

Ultimately, the power dynamic in the story, revealed when Gregor loses his ability to earn money, is reflective of the economic system of capitalism in which those at the top exploit workers for a profit.

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How does Gregor's transformation in The Metamorphosis reflect his family's power struggle?

Gregor is the main breadwinner and the one with the most responsibility for the financial wellbeing of the Samsa family. His father stays at home, his mother cooks and cleans, and his sister is considered "useless," though her parents hope Gregor will be able to pay her tuition at a music school. However, when Gregor transforms, he can no longer work and therefore no longer contributes anything. Just as he goes from being a human to being an insect, Gregor goes from holding the most power in the Samsa family to having no power at all.

Gregor's father suddenly becomes a tyrant, treating Gregor as though he were not his son any longer, but a pest. His behavior suggests he resents his son, both for having displaced him as the ruler of the roost for so long and for no longer being able to financially support the family. Ultimately, Gregor's father and sister both take jobs, and his mother takes in boarders. With jobs comes more power, since now they find themselves able to manage without Gregor, making him even more of a burden, even a liability since if the boarders discover a giant insect living in the house with them, they might take their money and leave.

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How does Gregor's transformation in The Metamorphosis reflect his family's power struggle?

Gregor's sudden, unexpected transformation into a giant bug has changed the whole power dynamic of the Samsa family. Previously, Gregor had been the family's sole breadwinner, which gave him enormous power as well as responsibility. His mother, in keeping with traditional female roles, was a homemaker, while his failed businessman of a father did nothing to contribute to the family coffers. As for Gregor's sister Grete, she's more of an artistic type and wants to be a musician (with Gregor paying her tuition fees at the conservatory).

Once Gregor turns into a giant insect, the balance of power shifts dramatically. No longer able to earn a living, Gregor becomes a weak, passive character utterly dependent on others for his most basic needs. Without power and responsibility for the first time in his adult life, Gregor is utterly bereft.

In the meantime, his family takes on the bread-winning role that he's previously undertaken. His old man finally gets a job, albeit quite a lowly-paid one, as does his sister. The family also starts taking in paying boarders to make ends meet. Once a central part of the Samsa family, Gregor the giant insect has now been banished to the periphery, and he finds his new situation impossible to deal with.

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How does Gregor's transformation in The Metamorphosis reflect his family's power struggle?

One of the major power struggles among the characters in Kafka's The Metamorphosis revolves around the financial support of the Samsa family.

Prior to Gregor's transformation into a dung beetle, he had been the family's breadwinner. Both his father, and his beloved sister Grete, had been dependent on him.

Gregor's father, Mr. Samsa, is a failed businessman who has not worked for five years. Gregor's seventeen year old sister, Grete, is considered by her parents to be "a somewhat useless daughter." Her big hope in life is that Gregor will someday be able to finance her studies at a music conservatory.

After Gregor's metamorphis and subsequent retirement from his job, both his father and sister go to work. The father becomes a messenger for a bank. He takes particular pride in his uniform, probably because it is a symbol of his "victory" over his son. Grete becomes a sales clerk.

In the end, it is Grete and the father who take the lead in the decision to banish Gregor from the family home. Part of Grete's reasoning is that it is unfair to her and her father, who are working so hard, to have to put up with such a monstrosity at home:

If people have to work as hard as we all do, they can't endure this endless torment at home as well. I can't do it either.

The power equation has been reversed. No longer is Gregor the most important member of the family upon whom others are dependent for financial support. Rather, his sister and father--formerly dependent on him--decide to expel Gregor from home because he has become a useless burden.

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How does Gregor's transformation symbolize problems in his family and how the demands placed on him have worn him down?

Prior to his transformation, Gregor was faced with the prospect of paying off his family's debts by working at a job he hates, all the while attempting to win acceptance from his bully of a father. Gregor seems to have a compassionate sister, Grete, but even she eventually turns on him. Gregor is a self-sacrificing character; after his transformation, his family can no longer depend on him and particularly his father now feels completely justified in berating his son as a worthless insect; literally and figuratively.

After Gregor's transformation the familial tensions grow exponentially. Being an insect, trapped in his room, Gregor becomes a burden rather than a breadwinner. But, in his isolation and freedom of this role of the sacrificer, Gregor is able to escape. Only through isolating himself from the world (in his room and then in death) is Gregor able to escape his role in his family.

To be more direct to your question, I don't think Gregor's transformation symbolizes the problems in his family. The radical nature of the transformation does show how ingrained the family's function is. They are more concerned with the mundane daily concerns than with the fact that their son is a giant insect. Gregor has been so worn down that a transformation of such significance is the only way to extricate him from this situation.

There are so many interpretations of this story. One perspective regarding the transformation, in this context, is that even the most radical change might not affect the habitual, repetitive function of a somewhat robotic society. And sadly, that isolation from that world may be the only way to escape that routine. Kafka was known for this kind existential look where the individual is on an endless quest of meaning, acceptance or entrance into a more open world. Check out his short story "Before the Law" and his novel, The Castle.

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What is the family situation of Gregor in The Metamorphosis?

In the story by Franz Kafka, “Metamorphosis,” Gregor experiences an interesting family situation. Although Gregor supports and cares about his family, he does not appear to feel very close to them. As a result, he provides for them financially; however, there appears to be a lack of close familiarity between them.

Throughout the story, the readers begin to learn that Gregor has been providing for his family financially. As the story unravels, it becomes evident that Gregor’s father lost his business and that Gregor took it upon himself to help his family. Although Gregor’s family is appreciative, they do not seem as grateful as they once were or even very close to Gregor (especially his parents). As shown in the story:

They had become quite accustomed to it [Gregor's financial support], both the family and Gregor as well. They took the money with thanks, and he happily surrendered it, but the special warmth was no longer present.

Furthermore, Gregor illustrates that he cares about his family; however, there is much he does not know about them. For example, he does not realize that his parents have been saving money or that they have saved money from his father’s past business. Regardless of him not being familiar with this more personal information, he still cares about them and desires to provide for them. He also cares about their passions and interests, especially with his sister. He desires to pay for her to go to the conservatory to learn the violin more, which she loves.

Consequently, Gregor has an interesting home environment. Although he provides for his family, he lacks knowledge about some of the more personal information. Despite this lack of closeness, he continues to care about their necessities and even their interests.

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In The Metamorphosis, how does Gregor's father's personality change?

This is a very interesting question, as you will find if you read the story carefully that the metamorphosis of Gregor actually triggers other transformations in his family, including his father. Note how at first he is described as a failure who is dependent on his son's income. When Gregor reveals his transformed self, he shows his weakness and also his anger towards Gregor:

The father clenched his fist, glaring at Gregor as if trying to shove him back into his room, then peered unsteadily around the parlour before covering his eyes with his hands and weeping so hard that his powerful chest began to quake.

Although he shows weakness, what stands out in his relations with Gregor is his anger. Notice how when Gregor attempts to leave his room, it is his father who violently forces him back, hurting Gregor both times.

It is the fierceness that dominates, however. The first two times Gregor ventures out of his room, his father forces him back in, the first time brandishing a walking stick and a newspaper at him, the second time bombarding him with apples. He does injury to Gregor both times.

Yet what is key to realise is how Gregor's tranformation galvanises his father, turning him from a "failed businessman" into the head of the family who starts dealing with their financial affairs with skill:

From time to time, he rose from the table to fetch some document or notebook from his small strongbox, which he had salvaged after the collapse of his business five years earlier.

Interestingly, though, he still shows elements of his weakness by the way he craves pardon from the lodgers. It is only when Gregor has actually died that he conquers his inner weakness, dismissing both the charwoman and the three tenants, who suddenly see in Mr. Samsa a new strength:

"Well, then we'll go," he said, looking up at Mr. Samsa as if, in a sudden burst of humility, he were requesting sanction even for this decision. Mr. Samsa, with bulding eyes, merely vouchsafed him a few brief nods.

It is key to note that Mr. Samsa is only referred to as such after his son's death. It is as if Gregor's demise gives him the release necessary to become the new man he has always shown the potential of being. Yet Kafka's text asks us a very hard question of why it takes his son's death to transform his father.

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In The Metamorphosis, how does Gregor's father's personality change?

After his metamorphosis, Gregor remains largely the same self-sacrificial personality he was before he turned into an insect at the beginning of Franz Kafka's novella. However, he changes in that his hatred and dread of his traveling salesman job disappears, since he can no longer go to work. Without that animating focus for his resentment, he becomes sadder and more passive.

His family, always important to him, becomes more so as his world shrinks. He accepts their rejection of him as a burden now that he can no longer earn money, and evening after evening watches them longingly from the door of his room as they eat dinner and talk without him.

He does not fight back when his father throws the apple at him that lodges in his back and eventually infects and kills him. Once he realizes he has become a problem to his family, he accepts his death with peaceful resignation. Throughout the story we feel both sympathy and yet frustration for the caring he has for his family and wonder that he can maintain it when they do not return it.

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