"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka is the story of Gregor Samsa, who wakes
up one morning transformed into a monstrous vermin, retains his ability
to think and feel as a human being, is held prisoner and hidden by his
family, and slowly goes to ruin. The narrator of the story is from
a second person point of view. The story takes place in 1916 in the
Samsa house, mostly in Gregor's bedroom.. The form of conflict presented
is Gregor"s state of unresolved conflict between work and ego.
The main character of the story is Gregor Samsa. He wakes up one morning transformed into a beetle. He curses his work and wants to sleep for a few more minutes and forget all this nonsense, the nonsense which refers to his metamorphosis. This conflict between his occupation and his unsettling dreams. Gregor and his father had a distant relationship. Mr. Samsa would tell him harsh words. Gregor was the provider of the family, he was the one who worked while his father stayed at home resting. By the end of the story, Gregor finally frees himself from the harsh world. His death represents liberating realizations. The beetle represents a tendency to retire. The dream was a state for Gregor to be freed of the pressure of consciousness. I feel many different ways towards Gregor. I feel pity and understanding towards his illusions to escape the chaotic work world. I also feel confused about the cold was his family acted toward him.
Grete Samsa is Gregor's sister. She is kind and sympathetic, the only family member to take care of Gregor after his metamorphosis. Grete tried to ease Gregor's embarrassment by cleaning his room, providing meals, and cautiously entering the room. Although simple actions, they made Gregor feel special since his parents acted as if he were a burden. By the end of the story Grete had transformed into a mature girl, now that she was only child. I greatly like Grete's character. She was always there to support him during his metamorphisms.
Mr. Samsa, Gregor's father, plays an important role in the play. He was rude and violent toward Gregor. A scene in the story which shows these qualities is when Mr. Samsa was determined to bombard Gregor and almost kill him as he grew impatient of the changing family environment. By the end of the story, Mr. Samsa is once again rejuvenated as his son is gone and his worries are over.
A scene that expresses the major conflict in the book is when Gregor wakes up as the monstrous vermin. The metamorphosis actually takes place before his waking, while he was in the state of sleeping and dreaming. This scene leads to further complications because the entire story is based on the effects Gregor's metamorphosis has on the Samsa family's destruction.
A second scene that expresses the major conflict is when Mr. Samsa frantically harms the metamorphosized Gregor. He grabs a fruit bowl and violently pitches apple after apple to Gregor's back. This scene leads to further complications because it was the first time Mr. Samsa had reacted to the metamorphosis. It also seemed to have reminded the father that Gregor was a member of the family, in spite of his present repulsive shape who could not be treated as an enemy.
The scene that involves the point of greatest tension in the story is when the housekeeper finds Gregor dead in his room. His body was completely flat and dry. This scene leads to the resolution of the conflict because now the Samsa family can move on with their lives and Gregor is able to liberate his soul to freedom as he escapes the tortures of his metamorphosis.
The novel ends with Gregor dead and Grete transforming into a grown up girl in the eyes of her parents. The author's point is that one must not become overly involved in work and pay attention to oneself before you destruct. In the story, Gregor metamorphosized as he cursed at his job during his sleep. This theme applies to people in general who get all caught up in their work and don't have time for anything else. The theme applies to me personally because I sometimes overload myself with work and responsibilities. However, unlike Gregor I manage myself and am very far from self destruction.
I enjoyed reading "The Metamorphosis". Although at times it seemed a bit odd and confusing, we can all interpret the story in different ways. Gregor's metamorphosis represented something that can never be expressed or seen since none of the characters can actually see the animal. In spite of all the realism in the description of the animal, the animal itself can never be understood and a visual image of it can never be gained. The book reinforced my opinions that life is not all about work. One must be able to socialize with others and oneself once in a while and not let work overwhelm you until you are pushed so far down that you can longer rise. I recommend this book to others because it teaches an important moral about life using symbolic themes.