The Metamorphosis

The following sample essay on “The Metamorphosis”: review on Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, characteristic of story’s characters, parallel between Gregor and Jesus.

Groups of three identified in the book: The number three plays a considerable role in the story. The story is divided into three parts. There are three doors to Gregor’s room. His family consists of three people. Three servants appear in the course of the story. Three lodgers have three beards. Three Samsas write three letters. The clock chimes three times.

Gregor appears 3 times outside his room. Three women imitate Mr. Samsa as he thanks the Lord. Three family members had to work after Gregor’s metamorphosis. In the book, The Metamorphosis, Grete’s behavior changes dramatically as she becomes cold hearted and uncaring.

In the beginning of the story Gregor’s younger sister is the only one who seems to understand that Gregor is suffering and she “weeps in her bedroom. ” She demonstrates that she cares about her brother by bringing him his favorite food “milk.

” She is the only one in the family who is courageous to enter Gregor’s room to clean it. However, by the end of the book she is so exhausted by her job that she does not even bother to look in to his room. Grete has come to detest her brother to such an extreme that he refers to him as if he were an animal and exclaims, “we must get rid of it,” so she rejoices when she finds out about his death.

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In the end of the story, her parents “see their daughter become more and more vivacious… [for] she had blossomed into a lovely and shapely girl. ” Her parents view her as the link that will help them resolve their financial burdens by marrying a rich man. The servant (Ana) becomes so terrified with Gregor’s appearance that she resolves to quit her job as does the cook. The “plead mercifully to be dismissed,” and demonstrate gratification when they are allowed to leave. They both leave a bigger burden for the family creating a metamorphosis in the role that the family plays in their own house.

Their absence obligates the women in the family to perform difficult tasks. Another change occurs in Mr. Samsa and Mrs. Samsa. The family who was accustomed to a lifestyle that was envied by lower class individuals is taken away from them as all three family members have to sacrifice their possessions to survive. The father who used to “lay on the couch” and “read his newspaper” has to go back to work. The mother who was enjoying her luxurious life sacrifices her pride as she is forced to sew individual’s underwear. The parents who are supposed to be enjoying their lderly years in accommodation must now input all of their strength in order to provide the family with enough money just to “pass by. ”

Through the peculiar events in the story the author helps the reader understand that capitalism harbor work-related obsessions and increases rates of stress related diseases. After Gregor becomes a bug the mother and the sister become the main providers for the family. Gregor’s parents owned a big debt, and he used all of his strength to become the best worker and would devote all of his time in accomplishing the demands from his job.

However one day, exhausted from all his work he discovers that he has become an insect and he feels trapped because he ran too hard to meet the demands of business. The author is trying to explain how capitalism imprisons people driving them to become individuals that scurry on the ground and eat whatever is available. His irreversible illness leads to his death, but his family continues to be affected by capitalism. They become heartless individuals who place more emphasis on money than on helping Gregor. They become so cold hearted that they do not demonstrate that they love each other anymore.

Instead of mourning Gregor’s death they view it as a blessing from the heavens because he is just a reminder of the consequences of capitalism. The sister “found a job as a salesgirl” and the mother “would be sewing fine lingerie for a fashion boutique” while still being responsible for maintaining a spotless home. So, the cycle continues as the family’s priority is meeting their financial needs. Therefore, capitalism drives people to become obsessed with their work, separates family, affects the daily activities including the eating habits, and creates unrecognizable creatures trapped in the claws of their work. . The story can be viewed as an attack on political and personal tyranny through the description of the Chief (Gregor’s boss). Gregor’s boss at work is the great symbol of everything wrong with tyranny. He sits behind his desk, talking down to his employees.

Gregor knows that if he calls in sick for the first time in five years, his chief would come in person to call him lazy. The Chief Clerk is the Chief’s mouthpiece. He himself arrives at Gregor’s house when the former is late to work and thus throws the entire family into disorder. When Gregor does not unlock his room, the Chief Clerk ells Gregor, in front of the family, that he is under suspicion of having stolen money and that his work is very unsatisfactory, though this isn’t true. The story also attacks personal tyranny because according to the author when a man controls himself and drives himself too hard the man becomes imprisoned. In the story Gregor feels like he “c[ould] not move” because he had been trapped by his activities to such an extent that he had become like a bug. He crawled from place to place to accomplish his tasks, but he never worried about the things that distinguish humans from animals.

He felt that it was more important to make a sale and bring money for his family than to increase the bond among family members through love. Therefore, personal tyranny created an animal out of Gregor. 5. The story, The Metamorphosis, is a biblical allusion to Jesus. In the story the main character Gregor transforms into a “beetle” with “six legs;” an insignificant insect. When Jesus came to earth he had to abandon his perfect supernatural state to transform into a human body full of imperfections and insignificant in comparison to his perfect previous state.

In the story, Gregor becomes despised by his own family members how attempt to kill him. Gregor’s horrifying state serves as a painful reminder to the family of the consequences that come when a person becomes too involved in his job, so they hate him for it. Jesus was despised because he was perfect and humans were reminded of their sinful state, so they could not stand his presence. Gregor’s father roles “the rotten apple in his back” and “pushes him into the room. ” The bible relates how Jesus’ family was ashamed of him and would make fun of him because they did not believe that he was God’s son.

As Jesus’ death approaches his burden increases as he realizes that he has to carry the sins of the world in his back and take them to the cross. In the same manner, Gregor’s believes that he “is a burden for his family” and his appetite decreases. Both Jesus and Gregor die with an empty stomach, and with great grief. Gregor sacrifices his life to provide his family with “such a life in such a beautiful department. ” Jesus gave his life so that people could live a happier life by getting to know God through him. Like Gregor, Jesus back was whipped by the Roman soldiers who despised him because he claimed that he was the “King of the Jews. Gregor’s death occurs in “March” which is the same time that Jesus was crucified on the cross. Gregor dies when the clock “chimes three times” and according to scripture Jesus died at three p. m. Therefore, the story is an allusion to Jesus life which is represented through the main character Gregor. 6. Gregor’s transformation represents how everyman is in our society today. Due to human’s desire to expand their economic status they become too involved in their work to the extent in which they neglect their own family members.

Gregor like many men places more emphasis in accomplishing job and making his boss happy than in doing anything else. Even though he “hates traveling, worrying, and meeting temporary acquaintances that never become more than that” he believes that his job has come to represent who he is. His identity is no longer Gregor, but salesman. Today, many individuals identify themselves through their jobs, rather than expressing who they are as individuals because they have made their jobs their priority.

When Gregor becomes an insect he scurries in his room eating “whatever” he can “find. ” In today’s society there is a big problem with society since many people often eat whatever they find on the road that will be easy and fast to consume, because they do not want to waste precious time to do their jobs. For many people today their job is more important than their health. In the story the chief clerk claims, “we men of business-fortunately or unfortunately- very often simply have to ignore any slight indisposition since business must be attended to. He expresses how many people feel today that personal illness is unimportant, what is important is that an employee wastes important company money, but business should be attended to at all costs. This is the fundamental crisis that Gregor, as so many human beings in the modern age, must face. This crisis is the conflict between freedom and one’s responsibility to oneself on one side, and guilt and the demands posed by society and family on the other. Both sets of values are essential for human beings, but the clash between them is often obscured.

Perhaps this conflict is obscured for the best, because there seems to be no way out of it. One cannot be free without guilt, yet one cannot fulfill one’s obligation to others and remain true to oneself. 7. Toward the end of the story Grete makes a speech which becomes the climax of the novel. She refers to Gregor as if “it” because she refuses to accept the idea that he is her brother. Grete insists that the “creature” cannot understand them though the family has never tried to find out. She is certain that Gregor is persecuting them and wants to drive them out of the apartment.

She has changed from the tender loving sister that brought him milk to an ambitious young woman who does not care about anything but money and her economic status. Internally she has filled her heart with the desires that are acceptable by society which accepts the degrading of human characteristics through a job. In the end of the story, when the family is discussing their future plans, the parents “upon seen the daughter becoming more and more vivacious realized almost in unison that lately, despite the sorrows that left her cheeks pale she had blossomed into a lovely and shapely girl… t was high time they found a descent husband for her… at the end of their ride the daughter was the first to get up stretching her young body. ” Grete through her hard work has come to be like the leader in the family. Her desire to strive and her ambition to lead a more prosperous life makes her parents feel that she is the family’s only hope to continue with a life that can be just as comfortable as the previous one.

She undergoes a “metamorphosis” that unlike Gregor’s will benefit the family and accommodate them in a place where they will enjoy a luxurious life, and leave behind the pain and sacrifices they once had in the apartment. . Identify and discuss the possible symbolism involved in the following: a) The Picture In the story Gregor “clung to his picture, refusing to surrender it. ” When his family is taking the furniture out Gregor is trying to remain calm by explaining telling himself that it was not a major concern, yet he feels extremely uncomfortable. When he sees the emptiness of his room he clings to the picture of the woman in furs representing love interest for Gregor and desire to keep something from the lifestyle he once led. He dedicated the best of his years to his job in order to provide his family with the finest lifestyle.

In consequence, he is unable to raise his own family and never finds a partner. The way he clings on to the woman in fur represents his desire to be with someone, but never being able to do it. The picture was like Gregor’s escape route that made him forget about his loneliness and he finds comfort through a companion that despite its inability to speak does not flee in terror from his presence. He feels that by holding on to the picture he will have some evidence of the luxurious life that he once had, but is unable to prove due to his appearance.

Gregor feels that he is able to keep a piece of his past belongings then his hope of returning to normal will not perish. b) Father’s Uniform The uniform is a symbol of economic order. The father looks “as if he were ready for service at any moment and even here only at the beck and call of his superior. ” Due to the family’s financial condition he has to reincorporate to the work force and has lost his own volition. The fact that he wears his uniform even at home represents that he is a slave to his job even at home.

The only part of his uniform that is polished is the brass buttons which represent his absorption into the dehumanizing capitalist system. They stand out in his dirty uniform which symbolizes the degradation of the individual human core behind a job that is admired by society yet demolishes individuals personality. Just as humanity decays behind the demands of an exhausting job the uniform becomes covered with greasy stains behind the shining brass buttons. In the uniform, Mr. Samsa sleeps “in extreme discomfort yet quite peacefully. ” The uniform causes discomfort and loss of individuality.

Therefore, the uniform also represents how an individual by ignoring his own humanity and sacrificing himself entirely to the economic order can feel “at peace” at the cost of no longer being human. c) Gregor’s transformation One of the most insignificant creatures for human beings are the insects. If a person calls another individual “fly, ant, or insect” it is the same as stating that they are not important. Gregor’s transformation into an insect represents a reflection of his pre-existing feeling of insignificance. Gregor becomes despised by all of the humans that surround him including his family.

Insects are repellent and filthy, and are viewed as something for the exterminator to take care of. Gregor’s transformation causes repulsion all around. He is not simply feared and loathed but he actually evokes disgust in others. Therefore, Gregor’s transformation symbolizes the degrading state that comes when an individual becomes too involved in their job they lose their human characteristic; because they are driven by ambition they do not realize what is truly important. His job has demanded so much from him that Gregor is unable to continue working because he has given everything he had to offer.

What is left of him is unusable, so everybody despises him. d) Gregor’s Big Boss In the story the big boss is tyrannical and Gregor would gladly have quit his job if it had not been for his parent’s debt. The big boss “sits behind his desk, talking down to his employees. ” He symbolizes the main controllers of capitalism who push humans to work hard until their strength is absolutely gone and then hire other employees to destroy their life in the same manner. Whenever they feel that a person has served their best they begin to threaten them and create false accusations in order to fire them from their jobs. .

Kafka is able to make something that is impossible seem plausible by including details in the story that humans can connect with. For example, Gregor’s metamorphosis becomes reasonable through the internal conversation that he has with himself. He says, “Oh what a strenuous profession I’ve picked! Day in day, day out on the road. Is a lot more stressful than the work in the home office and along with everything else I also have to put up with these agonies of traveling… ” He expresses his hatred for a job that makes him travel a lot, causes stress on him, and makes him lose awareness of who he truly is.

The reader can identify himself with Gregor’s situation since many people today feel that they are insignificant like bugs due to their loss of identity created by a job that they despise. The story also seems rational due to the sequence of events that follow Gregor’s transformation. For example, the mom “faints” when she is exposed to Gregor’s presence and the father become irate. Society views females as weak and males of bad tempered therefore their reactions seem very plausible to the reader. The fact that the family is worried about financial burdens helps the reader believe that the story is possible as well.

The distance that exists among family members also serves as a detail that helps the reader believe that the story can be true. 10. The story, The Metamorphosis, is can be interpreted as biblical allusion to Jesus. There are several episodes that occur throughout the story in which the reader is reminded of Jesus death. For example, when Gregor’s dad roles “the rotten apple in his back” the story is alluding to the way that Jesus was whipped by the Roman soldiers who despised Jesus. Gregor’s dad repudiates his son’s appearance and attacks him. Mr. Samson represents the people who despised Jesus for being different. Gregor dies when the clock chimes three times, and according to biblical interpretation Jesus dies at three pm. According to the bible Jesus did not eat anything before he died, and Gregor decides to starve himself because he feels that he is a burden to his family. The charwoman “tried to tickle him” but when she saw that this had no effect she “poked him. ” The way in which the corpse is violated reminds the reader of the way in which Jesus body was mutilated by the Roman soldiers after his death.

Gregor’s death occurred in late March, which is the time in which Jesus was executed. Therefore the story can be interpreted by some to be a religious allegory by connecting it to Jesus death. 11. Grete represents and emerging artist who despite the obstacles that are placed before her she able to develop a skill that helps Gregor gain his human characteristics despite his physical condition. In the story when Gregor hears the violin he us touched in a completely new way. Kafka explains, “Gregor, drawn to the playing, had ventured a bit further out, so that his head was already sticking into the parlor. Only a true musician has the ability to capture the audience’s attention to the extent of having the desire of leaving their comfort zone. Though Gregor is literally an insect he is the only one who understands and feels the redeeming power of art. When he hears the violin his past and his love for his sister come back to him. Art saves him from his apathy reminding him of what he has been missing… his family. Unlike the insect Gregor in whom music bring out the best it is the other in failing to appreciate art, that are something less than human.

The economic effect on human relationships explained makes the story universal. Many families throughout the world view the person who provides for their financial needs as a source of income rather than a family member that needs love. In the story Gregor loses his identity because he has become imprisoned by his job. When he is no longer able to work he is neglected and despised. Once the family begins working they also have a difficult time communicating with each other. The evenings became “usually very hushed” and they would eat dinner “in silence. Many modern families throughout the world are unable to share dinner and converse with their family members due to demands of their jobs or school work. Some children view their over-working parents as a means for obtaining their materialistic desires rather than their dose of love and care. The exhaustion as a consequence of a dehumanizing job and the belief that people are valuable as long as they earn a salary keeps anyone who works isolated from others and unable to establish human relations with them.

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The Metamorphosis. (2019, Jun 20). Retrieved from

The Metamorphosis
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