How would your life change? How would your family’s life change? In Kafka’s,”The Metamorphosis”, Gregor Samsa has the opportunity to discover the solution to his worst nightmare. “When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin” page 1. The beetle symbolizes a worker in an industry who lives a methodical and routine lifestyle, even though it frees him of his responsibilities of humanity and the danger of conformity. It gives him the freedom because he is no longer has to be the soul provider; he is the one reliant upon everyone. His family goes through a transformation; his father and mother change from love to dependability. His relationship with his sister Grete also changes from sharing responsibilities to his reliance upon her. Mrs. Samsa’s health begins to debilitate, she begins to faint, and have heart trouble. The family becomes more dependent on the work that they can do together to support the family. Gregor feels like the burden of the family and dies because he doesn’t feel loved and needed any longer.
While the beetle may represent the worker, it frees him of responsibilities and humanity. It saves him from conformity and a routine lifestyle. “What a grueling job I’ve picked!, Day in Day out-on the roadto the devil with it all.” (p.4) In “The Metamorphosis,” Kafka demonstrates that conforming can be dangerous. The work he does drives him crazy and makes him like the worker. A worker does the same thing every day just as Gregor takes the morning train and goes door to door selling items, then he writes reports and takes the train home everyday. His life is very methodical and boring. Gregor only works to pay off the debts of his father’s previous company failure. After Gregor’s metamorphosis, he can’t work, because the changes restrain him from working for the firm. The beetle also represents a Christ-like figure, “He had pains all over his body, but it seemed to him that they were gradually getting fainter and fainter and would finally go away all together,”(p.53)represents the pains felt by Jesus Christ when he was being crucified on the cross. The nails were being driven in his hands, feet, and sides in hopes to kill him. Just as Gregor’s family was doing
to him. ” We must try to get rid of it. We’ve done everything humanly possible to take care of it and put up with it” Gregor’s family also wants him dead, they are tired of feeding and cleaning up after him. Because, they consider him more of a burden than a part of the family he is treated as a piece of garbage, they don’t sweep his room, and they don’t care if his room is not suitable. The cleaning lady and the family are all told that if they need the space to store their things to just pile things in Gregor’s room. “Whatever was not being used at the moment was just flung into Gregor’s room by the cleaning woman, who was always in a big hurry; fortunately Gregor generally saw the object involved and the hand that held it.” He took a lot of stuff and out up with a lot of crap. He dealt with people’s unwanted garbage just like a dung beetle, even though the things that killed him were the things that pilling in his room and cluttering his space. They thought that piling his room and suffocating him, would kill him and make it easier for them to accept without mourning. They considered his death a good thing in their lives.” I’ll say,” said the cleaning lady and to prove it she pushed Gregor’s corpse with her broom a good distance sideways,”Well,” said Mr. Samsa ,”now we can thank god.” His family is relived when he dies. They no longer have to feed or take care of him. “Gregor was a member of the family, in spite of his present pathetic repulsive shape, who could not be treated as an enemy; that on the contrary, it was the commandment of the family duty to swallow their disgust and endure him, endure him and nothing more.”
Gregor is given the freedom from humanity and responsibility by the metamorphosis serves as a vehicle of freedom. Gregor no longer has to work and conform to fit his lifestyle. Now all that he can do is sit around and wait for his sister to feed him. It has given him the opportunity to rethink his life over and wonder why he stayed in a job that he didn’t enjoy. Even though he may have been the source of income for his family it gives them the opportunity to become free and work for things instead of it being given to them.
Gregor’s parents become so desperate for money that they take in roomers.”Grete had taken a job as a salesgirl and was learning shorthand and French in the evenings to attain a better position some time in the future”. She shoved any old food into his room before heading off to the business. Regardless of whether the food had been touched or not, she swooshed it out of his room and slammed the door to avoid him. His sister used to give him food and then give him the privacy that he deserved. Now she doesn’t care about anything. He is considered a burden and a waste of bug.
His mother had once come into talk to him and tried to accept the reality that her son was a bug. But now she wants nothing to do with him. She would rather him be deadand out of her life. “lap of her mother who was still sitting in her chair fighting for her breath her lungs violently heaving,” His mother was slowly dying of the pressure of dealing with a son, who had metamorphosed into a dung beetle. Though she still cares about Gregor, she can’t stand the fact that he is a bug either. ” And she broke out crying so bitterly that her tears poured down onto her mother’s face, which she wiped off with the mechanical movements of her hand.”(p.51) She doesn’t want to deal with her son dying, but she knows that it would be easier to have him dead than alive.
Mr. Samsa begins to tire and is forced into bed after falling asleep on the arm of his favorite chair in front of the fire. ” As the clock struck ten, his mother tried to awaken his father with soft encouraging words and then persuade him to go to bed, for this was no place to sleep properly, and his father badly needed his sleep, since he had to be at work at six o’clock.” He had not had any time to think about Gregor and his feelings. But then of course he also wanted him dead and out of their lives and thoughts.
Overall the family had basically begun to ignore Gregor as a part of their overworked exhausted family. He figured that if he died that everything would be better for them. “My dear parents, “said his sister and by the way of an introduction pounded her hand on the table, “things can’t go on like this. Maybe you don’t realize it, but I do. I won’t pronounce the name of my brother in front of this monster, and so all I say is: we have to try to get rid of it. We’ve done everything human possible to take care of it and pt up with it; I don’t think anyone can blame us in the least.” (p.51) Grete has given up on Gregor and is forcing her parents to forget also. “It will be the death of you two, I can see it coming. People who already have to work as hard as we do can’t put up with this constant torture at home too. I can’t stand it anymore either.”(p.51) She thinks that the stresses that Gregor has caused will kill the family and be the death of everyone. They have to get rid of Gregor to be happy and less stressed out.
The beetle is symbolic of a beetle and it’s freedom and constraints. In Kafka’s, “The Metamorphosis,” Gregor is given the freedom of all-human responsibilities and setbacks. His family is going through a major change in their lifestyles and ways. In summary, Kafka is telling the readers that conforming to something beside what you are is dangerous and should be avoided.