InThe Metamorphosis Gregor Samsa does what most people do he trains in a skilland sells his time performing it. The Samsa’s are mostly concerned with him regardingmoney and are more than willing to take advantage of his sense of obligation. OvernightGregor mysteriously becomes an insect. His family is largely concerned abouthow it will affect their lives and financial position.
When Gregor wakes up inthe morning and realizes that his transformation has turned him into a monsterhis first anxieties are his greatest fear of missing work something he hasn’tdone in nearly 5 years. While his family is less concerned with his conditionas they are his job. He can feel his father disappointment even before heleaves his bed. Gregor was grieving over hearing his sister weeps; wonderingwhy she was crying? And further to think his boss would come to collect olddebts owed by his family. Gregor’s relationship with his sister is important tohim but begins to fear that she is only nice to him because of the money heprovides the family. Gregor has providedthe family with adequate finances for years at a job which he doesn’t findfulfillment and isn’t happy. He honestly believed that without him they wouldsuffer.
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However, while Gregor was spending time working, his family spendstheir time relaxing at home. His father spends his time sitting at the table inthe kitchen reading the newspaper all day. His sister spends her time followingclothing trends and passing time by practicing her violin and assisting hermother. They all even have time for a midday nap. Gregor finds pleasure in theidea that his is providing such a lifestyle for his family but his kindness is metwith antipathy from his father and insignificance of appreciation from hismother and sister. None of the familywas grateful for the effort Gregor put into his work and were never able to fullyappreciate him and the life they lived. “they had grown used to it, theyaccepted the money, but no particularly warm feelings were generated anylonger.
” At one-point Gregor is deeply distressed that the times of,”peace, prosperity, and contentment” are ending because of thischange. Kafka represents Gregor as worthless to the family outside his abilityto make money. Gregor feels worthless, and the family feels he is worthlesswhen he is unable to financially support them.
Notonly is Gregor alienating himself from his family, but he is also alienatinghimself from society. Gregor is penalized for his efforts to be a good son, anda good worker; his toils are completely taken for granted by both family andemployer. Gregor is completely isolated by his job; he has no friends, and nochance to make friends. He hates his job, and fantasizes about quitting as soonas he has paid off his father’s debt. Gregor is virtually a slave to his job;he is an insect scampering about trying to please others; he has lost hishumanity in his pursuit of material possessions. His dedication is notappreciated by his family or his employer, in fact, his dedication is so takenfor granted it has not earned him praise or reward of any type, but has madeany slightly selfish act on his part unacceptable to those around him.
His bossshows up at the house before Gregor is even an hour late and tells Gregor hisjob is in jeopardy. He accuses Gregor of costing the company money by hisabsence, and directly accuses him of stealing from the company. Gregor’s Familydoes not defend Gregor, nor are they angered at the clerk for coming to theirhouse, insulting, and upsetting their possibly very ill son. The Samsa’s onlythoughts are of placating and appeasing the clerk. Gregor makes equal effortsat pacification and includes his family in his attempts to calm the situation.Gregor begs the clerk to give a good word for him to the owner of the company,and is desperate for the chief clerk to validate him.
Gregor’s change into aninsect, is ironically, his first taste of freedom in his adult life. He is freefrom his hated job, and he is free from the pressure to support his family.AsGregor’s life becomes more lonely, agonizing, and insignificant the Samsafamily began to rely more on themselves. The father, considered an invalidbefore, gets a job and takes his place as the head of the household. The sistergets a job, becomes more physically beautiful, and earns the respect of herparents. The mother becomes stronger, works more around the house, and is lessprone to fainting. The family’s new found financial pressures should lead to anew respect for Gregor and his selfless endeavors through the years, insteadthey become more and more convinced of his uselessness. Gregor has nothing tooffer them, and has nothing left to do but die.
The more independent the Samsasbecome the more they neglect Gregor, and the more anxious they are to get ridof him.Kafka criticized manycommon tendencies of society in his Metamorphosis. He is very critical of thecommon habit of treating those willing to do the most for you like doormatswhile being almost worshipful to those who are indifferent to your existence oreven scornful. People should love and respect those who make sacrifices forthem, but it is usually the opposite.
Kafka is also critical of the way themodern world and pursuit of financial security turns people into metaphoricalinsects; we scamper about performing resented tasks for pieces of paper. At theend of the day we are left with no meaningful bonds, nothing to say to eachother, and the desire for more wealth. Money should be something that happens toenrich our lives, and work should ideally be satisfying. Gregor’s life turnshim into a figurative insect, then a literal one. Kafka theorized that humanshave an individual self-serving need but also human know the benefits ofsociety. There is a need for the delicate balance of the two where we canbenefit from both.
If one chooses himself over all over, he will be lonely andnot have the benefits and support relationships and communities provide;However, with society of conformity and loss of the individual.