The Metamorphosis | Franz Kafka

Summary of: The Metamorphosis
By: Franz Kafka

Introduction

Dive into the world of ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka, where the protagonist Gregor Samsa awakens one day transformed into a hideous insect-like creature. This tale explores themes of identity, alienation, family dynamics, and the struggle to adapt to an unfathomable change. You’ll find yourself pondering Gregor’s attempts to reconcile his new reality with memories of his old life and his efforts to maintain his connection to his family despite their fear and repulsion. At the same time, examine the responses of Gregor’s family members amidst the chaos and uncertainty of their world turned upside down.

Metamorphosis

Gregor Samsa wakes up transformed into a hideous insect, but he worries more about being late for work than his bizarre condition. He agonizes over his arduous job, sleepless hotel stays, and superficial client relationships.

The Metamorphosis Begins

Gregor wakes up one day to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. He attempts to get out of bed and answer his family’s enquiries, but to no avail. His parents knock on his door, eventually summoning his employer, the chief clerk, who expresses concern at his absence. Gregor tries to reassure the clerk of his loyalty, but his appearance causes panic in his family. His father drives him back into his room with a stick, and Gregor falls into a coma-like sleep. When he awakes, he finds sweetened milk and bread, but he turns away, disappointed.

Gregor’s Selflessness

Gregor, after waking up in pain during his metamorphosis, decides to treat his family with patience and make the situation more bearable for them. He hardly thinks about his own future and is only concerned about his family. He takes pride in providing for them and is grateful when his sister, Grete, brings him food. However, she is disgusted by him and never speaks to him. Gregor spends most of his time hiding under the couch to spare his family’s feelings, but when his sister spots him, she is terrified.

Gregor’s Metamorphosis

A summary of the life of a man turned into a bug that has lost the love of his family.

Gregor’s father has been retired for over five years after his business crumbled, and he fills his days reading the newspapers. Gregor, a closer sibling with his sister Grete, loved listening to her play the violin and intended to finance her studies at the conservatory. But he notices that Grete has been visiting him less and less. As time goes by, Gregor’s room becomes exceedingly dirty, and his body’s roundness from overeating makes it tough for him to breathe in the small space.

Feeling ostracized by his family, Gregor spends his days crawling up and down the ceiling or hanging from it. But even as he grows accustomed to these new means of mobility, he feels an urgent need for human contact. At times, when he senses an unusual sense of liberty, is the only time he feels pleased.

The Tragic Reality of Gregor’s Family

Leaning against the door, Gregor eavesdrops on his family’s muted conversations and realizes his insect existence has become their new normal. Later, he discovers that his father has a significant amount of cash leftover from bankruptcy. However, it isn’t enough for a carefree existence. To make ends meet, Gregor’s family takes on menial jobs, breaking his heart as he always wanted to provide for them. The book highlights the tragic reality of how a once-providing son becomes a burden on his family and their struggle to make ends meet.

The Power Shift

Gregor’s sister, Grete, becomes his representative, controlling who visits him and when. She even insists on removing furniture from his room to aid his mobility. But in doing so, she asks her mother for help, meaning Gregor’s mother sees him in his new form for the first time. Though Gregor is relieved his mother didn’t bear witness to him, he can’t help but feel remorseful about his family’s situation, and how it’s shifted power to his younger sibling.

Want to read the full book summary?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed