In Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” Gregor, the main character, goes through a series of mental changes that symbolize how alienated he becomes from the humans of the modern world. Through the metamorphosis, Gregor becomes more aware of what he wants and what he needs instead of what he needs to do for the others. The metamorphosis also symbolizes the mental change that Gregor goes through. The main character of the literature masterpiece stops acting like a human being, and his world begins to change.
Gregor’s radical change of mind is fueled by the events that take place in his family. The character finds out about all the lies that he was told about his family’s financial problems. This, in turn, made him feel that has was losing care for his family and a sense of individuality. As a result, the man begins to alienate from his family and the rest of human society.
Through the metamorphosis, Gregor becomes more aware of what he needs instead of thinking and caring about what others need him to do. Throughout most of the story, Gregor lives a life of serving and not receiving anything for his troubles. Life of a servant that Gregor lives is caused by his family. Each member of it gets into debt because of bad economic decisions that they make. Gregor is asked to help, but at the same time, he feels that it is his responsibility to pay the debt his family has, and his father decides to take advantage of it.
Gregor hates his job. “Oh God,” he thought, “What an exhausting job I’ve picked out for myself! On the road day in, day out. It’s much more irritating work than doing the actual business in the home office, and on top of that there’s the trouble of constant traveling, of worrying about train connections, the bad food, and irregular meals, casual acquaintances that are always new and never become intimate friends.” Nevertheless, because of the responsibility he felt towards his family, he would endure it. He realized how he was treated, “He was a tool of his boss without a brain or a backbone (1161)” and yet said nothing and just would take it as if he was actually an insect working for the queen, without saying anything. He could see it all and knew that he could leave his job and that his family and his boss poorly treated him. While working, he would see other salesmen, and how easy their jobs were compared to his. Slowly but surely Gregor becomes aware of how his family treats him and never takes into consideration his needs.
Gregor’s metamorphosis symbolizes how he becomes less human day after day, ignoring his needs, to becoming a person who simply does not care anymore. At the beginning of the story, Gregor wakes up in the morning, complaining to himself that he needs more sleep. “This getting up so early,” he thought, “Makes anyone a complete idiot (1157)”. Through this quote, Gregor demonstrates how uneasy he is with his daily routine, as well as how he wants it all to change but yet does nothing about it. He compares himself with the other salesmen, who are just starting to have their breakfast when he is returning to do a check-in. Gregor sees how different things could have been for him as well, but he ignores his feelings to please his family. Gregor begins to speak to himself about leaving and doing what he wants. However, he ends up ignoring the feeling and the desire to do off with the job that he hates so much. “Well I haven’t given up hope completely; once I’ve gotten the money to pay off my parents’ debt to him, that will probably take another five or six years…(1157)”. Through this quote, Gregor talks about leaving the job and doing off with his mean boss. He knows that his job is doing him bad and needs to get another. Nevertheless, he feels the need to help his family more than help himself. Towards the end of the novella, Gregor begins to ignore his needs and goes on with life until he has a mental breakdown. As a result, he believes that he is a bug. In addition, he begins to act like one.
Gregor goes through the range of changes, starting with caring about things to not caring about what he needs. This changes him drastically. Gregor metamorphosis symbolizes another change, in which he becomes more distant from his family by discovering all the lies that his family had told him about not having any money. The reason he worked so hard was all for a lie. It turned out that his family did have money all saved up, just that they wanted more.
He becomes less human-like and decides to keep to himself because he is probably really hurt. The changes that he goes through are mainly shown when he becomes less human and dependent on his family instead of his family being dependent on him. In the beginning, he is the one that is supporting the family and works hard every day to provide whatever they need. Towards the end, he goes through a mental imbalance that makes him incapable of working, forcing that family to start caring and working for themselves.
Gregor is less human-like because he becomes unable to help himself. This makes him depart further and further away from human society. “The rotten apple in his back and the inflamed area around it, which were completely covered with fluffy dust, already hardly bothered him.” (1188). This quote demonstrates that the longer he thinks that he is a bug, the less he is caring about his well-being. He doesn’t care anymore that he is dirty. It begins to seem normal to him. This shows how far away he is drifting from human society because people would not like to be dirty if they knew that they could do something about it. The protagonist no longer sees what he needs or wants, as well as what is good for him. He just exists in his own mind as a bug that is just there. Gregor’s distancing from his family made him a bit less human since he did not want to interact with them.
In conclusion, from the beginning of the book towards the end, Gregor’s metamorphosis was a symbol of how Gregor had become distant from human society and less human himself. Like at the beginning of the book, he was a person concerned with the welfare of others and worked hard to help them. However, he became a bit retarded by believing that he was a bug. He started accepting his surroundings and acting as a bug. He became less concerned with his well-being and that of those around him. He just did not care anymore. Gregor just wanted to do nothing. He was not concerned with what he could do to help himself. The more Gregor went through his metamorphosis, the less human-like he was. This led to separating him from the rest of human society and causing him not to want to interact with his family or anyone else. This, in turn, caused his ultimate demise.