The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis

By Franz Kafka

Main Characters

Gregor Samsa - Man who supported his family
but mysteriously turned into a roach one day.

Grete Samsa - The sister of the roach man
who fed and took care of the roach.

Herr Samsa - The father of the roach who
had to return to work when his son couldn’t.

Frau Samsa - The mother of the roach who
had to return to work when her son couldn’t.

Minor Characters
lodgers - Disrespectful people that rented
rooms in the Samsa flat.
charwoman - Cleaning lady who first found

Gregor dead.

Settings

Gregor’s room - Gregor is locked up here
and not allowed to roam about around the other rooms of the house.

Dining room - The rest of the family spends
most of its time here talking and eating.

Plot

The story begins with Gregor waking up
in bed and finding out that he’s just turned into a vermin, probably a
roach. Despite his state, Gregor feels that he can still go to work.

However, he proves unable to do this when he finds he has so much trouble
getting out of bed and opening the door. Furthermore, no one can
understand him. Gregor’s employer who had come to Gregor’s house to fetch
him to work, leaves in a very nervous state and Gregor worries about losing
his job. His family, however, cannot believe that the bug is Gregor
and shoves him back into his room when Gregor tries to step out badly bruising

Gregor. Gregor returns to his room and goes to sleep. The family
is now faced with the problem of the lack of money since Gregor was the
only member of the family that worked. Luckily, the father had saved
some money which the family would be able to live off of for about a year.

Also each member of the family got a job. Herr got a job at the bank,

Frau got a job knitting lingerie, and Grete got a job as a store clerk.

In the meantime, the only person who enters the room is Grete who comes
by and feeds Gregor twice a day. After time, the maid was fired and
a charwoman was hired to do the cleaning. Also, the Samsa’s took
up three lodgers to help pay the rent on the flat. These lodgers,
however, did not know about Gregor. One night after dinner, Grete
began playing the violin which lured Gregor out into the dining room.

The lodgers caught sight of him and Herr pushed them into their room out
of sight of Gregor. The lodgers threatened to leave without paying.

Gregor was pushed back into his own room. Early next morning, the
charwoman came to clean and found Gregor dead in his room. She told
the rest of the family. Herr ordered the lodgers out of his house.

The entire family then wrote letters to their employers requesting a day
off to relax. They then took a train trip where the Samsa’s realized
that it was about time that Grete got married.

Symbols
hospital - This symbolizes help which was
so near for Gregor and yet so far.
music - This symbolizes the universal communication
that Gregor could have had with his sister.
lodgers - This symbolizes the lack of control
that the Samsa family had over their situation.

Style

Kafka’s style is simple and matter
of factly. The fact that Gregor turned into a bug did not seem to
shock Gregor very much making this an interesting contrast to the families
reaction. The omnipotent third person leaves some things out such
how Gregor turned into a bug in order to keep the matter of fact style
of the story.

Dominant Philosophy

Gregor’s state before he turned into
a bug contrasts with the family’s state after the got jobs and began working.

This suggests the Kafka is trying to say that we shouldn’t work like bugs
for others leaving out time for ourselves as Gregor had but instead work
for ourselves with pride and dignity as the family did at the end of the
story.

Quotes

Page 538 "As Gregor Samsa awake one morning
from a troubled dream, he found himself changed in his bed to some monstrous
kind of vermin." The narrator says this about how Gregor found out
he was a bug.

Page 539 "The next train went at seven;
to catch it he must hurry madly, and his collection of samples was not
packed;" The narrator says this describing how Gregor, despite being
a bug, still wants to go to work."

Page 577 "He’s lying there, absolutely
dead as a doornail." The charwoman says this to the