Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis - plot analysis.

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Linda Lapiņa

English A1


Franz Kafka



The story starts as Gregor Samsa, a travelling merchant who dislikes his job but has kept it because of his father’s debt to his boss, wakes up in an ordinary morning- what is unordinary is that he has turned into a giant bug. However, Gregor’s transformation is only outward, and he is not much alarmed and is more worried about oversleeping than his becoming an insect. He plans to catch a later train to get to work. Meanwhile, Gregor’s family has noticed his unusual presence at home so late in the morning and try talking to him through the door of Gregor’s room. Initially, Gregor succeeds in telling them that he will come right out; later, his speech becomes irreprehensible. Just as he finally has found a way to get out of the bed, his annoying, fastidious chief clerk has arrived to investigate his absence from work that day (in 15 years of service, G. has never missed a single day at work). G. tries to explain his situation, but his words can no longer be made out; his sister and maid are sent to get doctor and locksmith; finally, he manages to unlock the door, hurting his jaws. As the chief clerk sees him, he begins to panic; Gregor’s family is shocked, especially his sensitive mother, while his father violently drives Gregor back into his room, not giving him time to enter properly. Gregor severely hurts himself at the door.

In the section 2 of the story, Gregor’s family tries to adjust to the change of their son. Grete, Gregor’s younger sister who has once loved him very much, is now the one to take practical care of Gregor- clean his room and bring him food. While Grete is in his room, Gregor hides to prevent her from seeing his disgusting insect outside. Initially, Grete is very punctual and diligent in these activities. Soon she, and the rest of the family as well, understand that they are obliged to start working, as their sole supporter can support them no more.

Being the only one to have courage and proficiency to take care of Gregor, Grete begins to feel both influential and necessary to the family. She feels urged to exaggerate her authority and become a self-appointed spokesperson for Gregor, persuading her mother to start removing furniture from Gregor’s room, assuming this to be in his interest. However, Gregor approaches furniture as a link with his human past; removing the furniture means a faster descent into animal existence (Gregor has already changed much of his habits and preferences to more bug- like ones). That is the reason why, when his mother and sister are going to remove his beloved desk that has served Gregor since his childhood (mother has been insisting to preserve the room as it is, for Gregor would need it once he is changed back, but Grete forces her to agree), Gregor starts to panic. He climbs onto his perhaps favourite object in the whole room, a picture of a lady hanging on the wall. His mother enters the room and faints after seeing Gregor unprepared. Gregor desperately wants to help revive his mother and rushes out of his room. Grete slams the door shut, and Gregor is confronted with his father who has returned home. An odd chase begins, until Gregor’s father begins to bombard his son with apples. One of them hits Gregor in the back, sticking in there and causing him intense pain. Gregor’s mother, who has regained consciousness, pleads Gregor’s father to not to kill their son.

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In section 3, the situation has changed. Gregor’s family have all started up jobs, while Gregor’s wound is rapidly getting worse (nobody has the courage to remove the apple from his back). Grete has no time to clean his room or worry about his appetite, and Gregor starts to feel lonely, abandoned and forsaken. However, the attitude towards him has changed. The door to Gregor’s room is left open in the evenings so he can take part in his now exhausted, working family’s evening routines. This ends when the family takes in three tenants, being overcautious for obeying their ...

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