Exploring the Changes of Gregor Sansa in Frank Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”
Changes of Gregor Samsa after his transformation
Gregor Samsa undergoes changes that are easily notable during his transformation. The changes to some extend are somehow physical as portrayed in one morning when he wakes up and changes his bed into a monstrous vermin. This is despite other interpretations besides the physical imagery. The reliance of the reader on the embedded and extended metaphors from the context describes the transformation of Gregor as emotional, internal and mental changes.
Therefore, the metamorphosis of Gregory is a combination of both physical and non -physical realities as interpreted based on the tangible evidence (Lawson & Richard 97). Acceptance of the interpretations gives both the non- physical and physical readings some clarity in terms of perspective throughout the whole setting. This makes the reader understand the metamorphosis better.
According to Gross & Ruth, (40), a well-constructed and spiced language in the description of the whole episode of Gregory makes a realistic and firm description of the complete metamorphosis. Gregory issue of the actual physical transformation is revealed by the characters in a very realistic and physical realm. The details of the transformation of Gregor are situated through the world of terminologies.
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For instance, Gregor change to insect-like state makes the reader to conceptualize naturally the piece of information in a natural setting. This is put forward by the straight -forward and the physically realistic diction that puts emphasis on the self-acceptance of Gregory which is counter- intuitive mainly in the part of the person analyzing the text. The acceptance of change for this is done through use of diction.
The pure physical reading of the transformation of Gregor gets the back up of enforcement through the details of his state. The details which follow the commencement of the changes of Gregor show that the changes occur in different and specific times. Details are given on how the physical trials and movement of Gregor’s body led to changes in his physical appearance. There are specific trials in the physical state of the new body.
The mass of the body finally follows in changing in spite of the width and weight. There is also the existence and emergence of a brown liquid that used to come out of the mouth of Gregor whenever he did individual hurting to himself. The emphasis on the physical imagery is a continuous stuff throughout the text .This ends up into the physical detail of the sister to Gregor who ends up surviving him by getting a stretch of his own body, (Lawson & Richard 98).
With regard to Gross & Ruth, (45), the logical view of Gregor changes make the piece worthy reading coupled with metaphors and absurd allegory. Deliberate fiction distortion leads to evolving of an activity of solving problem in the overall narration. Questions of the present state of Gregory are raised despite him inhabiting in a logical world. Gregor’s position in the family of Samsa is interpreted from the perspective of the metaphorical position in the novel. This is despite him doing the work of a salesman of which he doesn’t change much. This however still inspired him to work harder. This makes him not to be limited or controlled by external forces after his transformation.
He regains physical strength as his feeble legs and wings stop demanding independence and familiarity which previously held him captive. Gregor’s metamorphosis is used indirectly to represent family pressures, bonds and ties through his imprisonment by the family. Therefore, it can easily be interpreted that Gregor’s change is a mental realization and transformation. “Gregor’s serious wound, from which he suffered for over a month – the apple remained imbedded in his flesh as a visible souvenir since no one dared to remove it – seemed to have reminded even his father that Gregor was a member of the family, in spite of his present pathetic and repulsive shape, who could not be treated as an enemy; that on the contrary, it was the commandment of family duty to swallow their disgust and endure him, endure him and nothing more.”
Use of metaphors strengthens the mental change for him in general. For instance, when he changes to insect form, he crawls over the floor as entertainment to represent how salesmen should travel. This can be metaphorical metamorphosis and can be interpreted as both internal and mental in the land of allegory. Again, it can be agreed that there is a complete and pure mental – emotional change that takes place in the transformational life of Gregor.
The metaphors used in this context are a proof of convincing physical imagery that doesn’t need the explanations in explaining the changes in the life of Gregor. This is because the realms he inhabits during his transformation are not so physical (Lawson & Richard 100).
According to Ruth & Gross, (50), the objective interpretation of the metamorphosis is made more rich and fulfilling when the physical interpretation of Gregor metamorphosis is coupled with mental and internal change. Gregor character becomes whole when one applies situational symbolism and imperfect physical presence are applied to the controversial physical metamorphosis for Gregor. Gregor character serves as convincing symbol due to his physical credibility in his individual and archetypal state. This is clearly shown through the physical world of transformation and the realistic situations that he undergoes through during his whole metamorphosis.
The use of mental metaphors and physical imagery in the text helps a lot when it comes to the character development of Gregor .However, there is a conflict between two perspectives. Those literal transformations that render Gregor transformation non – physical while others render the transformation totally physical as explained in the text. This transformational metamorphosis in Gregory makes visible and notable physical and non-physical changes.
Does Gregor Samsa grow in self-understanding or in comprehension of his family or his World?
Basically, the way Franz Kafka’s presents the isolation towards Gregor, clearly outlines the separation of the family from the entire society. In the process, Kafka emphasizes the way Gregor is separated from his family, something which is involuntary from Gregor, different from the family which isolates themselves from the society by their own choice. In this case, each and every family member has characteristics different from those of others and which separates them from freely interacting with the society (Greve & Anniken 3).
Grete’s isolation from her society originates right from her passion and interest towards her loved ones, and therefore she spends most of her time back at home caring for her family members. Gregor’s stubborn feeling and attitude towards work reveals his real and personal relationship with the society and how his feelings are far apart from the entire society, this therefore defines self-isolation. However, being in the work force results to him becoming lazier and losing every feeling towards the society acceptance. He has a different perspective towards things in general, from what people probably perceive him, in this, he refuses to let his uniform be washed, and choses to keep it just soiled, different from the expectation of people and the entire society.
Gregor faces alienation in different forms and aspects of life, the first form being alienation from his physical body and his life as the story progresses and changes into an insect and which basically is not so much different from a human life. We get to know that his metamorphosis gets him transformed from one body to a less convenient aspect of life (Karl & Frederick 405). He therefore does not get so much affected by the transformation, but explores the new body so that he can have a humble time working with it.
He does not show any change of whatever form because of his transformation, something that is evidenced by his behavior when he wakes up shortly after the transformation and gets annoyed that he cannot go to sleep simply because he cannot turn into his right hand side, also he meditates of how he can no longer attend to work. “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
Basically, Gregor is a salesperson who is always on the move and travelling, therefore, over time, he is greatly dehumanized by his passion with his job hence making him less personal and more into being mechanical. Gregor develops a certain habit which probably is acquired from his travelling and ensuring that all the doors are locked especially at night, he therefore brings this back into their home and practices it, something which makes him bring forth emphasis towards the distance between him and his family.
We are as well made to know that Gregor hates working and therefore describes work as irritating and exhausting (Reitter & Paul 405). Additionally, though a salesman who is always travelling, he also hates travelling so much and meeting people who do not become friends at the end of the day. He hates it also when he is misused by his boss. Gregor only maintains his position intentionally to deal with the debts that his parents have and achieve his dreams of the day that he could finally quit and do things that could be more satisfying in his life.
Due to the fact that the money driven economy is not favorable to those people who do not work, Gregor experiences some bit of alienation, this is because of an obvious believe that if one is unproductive in the society, then such a person becomes insignificant and repulsive in the entire society and country at large. His insect form excludes him from earning income to support his family, this strengthens the fact that he is now repulsive in the eyes of his entire family and the society at large. His value to the family seems to be financial based and therefore reduces when his ability to earn income is reduced by the insect form and the whole metamorphoses process.
In what ways
Each and every person in Gregor’s family experiences certain changes brought about by his metamorphosis, since his physical change and form leaves him in a state which does not warrant him to work any longer, and therefore the family’s financial situation changes. This forces Gregor’s father, mother and sister to look for jobs to cater for these family issues. Mrs. Samsa, the mother to Gregor, does a lingerie job for a local clothing store, and the sister took a salesgirl job so as to help the family settle its financial issues, she as well studies French language in the evening so as to secure herself a better place in the future (Greve & Anniken 3).
Moreover, Gregor’s father takes a job in a banking institution as a messenger. Gregor also brings about lack of harmony in their family by turning into a bug, they decide to keep away from him and vows never to look back into him. Gregor is therefore allocated with at list two people to be left with at home in case the others have to be away from the family. His family changed from their initial lifestyles.
“What the world demands of poor people they did to the utmost of their ability; his father brought breakfast for the minor officials at the bank, his mother sacrificed herself to the underwear of strangers, his sister ran back and forth behind the counter at the request of the customers; but for anything more than this they did not have the strength.”
Greve, Anniken. A. “Fiction as a source of self-knowledge: cognitive narratology faces the demands of Franz Kafka Knowledge Cultures 3.6 (2015).
Karl, Frederick. “The Mayor of Caster bridge”: A New Fiction Defined-1960, 1975.” Modern Fiction Studies 21.3 (1975): 405.
Reitter, Paul. On the Origins of Jewish Self-Hatred. Princeton University Press, 2012.
Lawson, Richard. Frank Kafka. 8th ed., 2017:94-105
Gross, Ruth. Critical Essays on Franz Kafka. 8th ed., 2017:35-60