Metamorphosis is a story by Franz Kafka that was published in 1915 and is based on the main character Gregor Samsa. Gregor is a young businessman who is always on the run but still leaves with his parents and her sister, to whom he gives financial assistance. When he wakes up one morning, he discovers that he has transformed into an insect during the course of the night. His concern in this state was how he will continue with his day-to-day turmoil. As the story unfolds, it became clear that this transformation into an insect imprisoned his life regarding the manner in which he used to interact is the society.
In his insect body, Gregor goes through a lot of challenges as he tries to survive both physical and emotional isolation that followed his transformation. The main one being the rejection by his mother and father and his ultimately beloved 17-years-old sister, who were the closest society that Gregor had. Once always on the move as a traveling salesman, Gregor ends up imprisoned away from his daily routine life.
His father gets angry at the level that he abused him as he retires early to a leisure life while the son compliantly works so as to support the family. Before Gregor transformed into an insect, his father bullied and disregarded him which was very unpleasant to him (Greve 40-57).
Gregor_x0092_s father is seen to throw an apple at the insect, which happens to be Gregor, and the apple ends up sticking on his back to foster after which it rots into the shell that has sticky legs but he still has his active human mind. Lodgers are seen to visit the apartment to make up wages that Gregor did not have and when they see him, they are horrified to the level that they flee (Bruce 107-125).
The mother abandons her role of caring for him and leaves this responsibility to the sister, who tries the best she could to help Gregor through removing the furniture in his room to create space for him to be able to crawl about. Following this move by the sister, he tries to have a picture of a lady on his wall, but even after his endless efforts to cling to the glass, the picture is removed. Gregor sees the remains of once his human life pulled out the door. He lost the capacity to move and eat, and mercifully, weakness at the end results to his death which was not expected (Bruce 107-125)
The predicament that Gregor went through after this incident can be compared to the experience of a person suffering from severe and disfiguring disabilities or chronic illness. This is seen in the manner his personal identity and life story dramatically changes to the worst when he transforms into a vermin. In this new identity, he is imprisoned by almost everything around him, unlike the life the lived before the transformation.
Gregor_x0092_s senses change completely. This can be seen when the hospital that used to be just across the street now appears to be beyond his range of vision. His abilities to move also change and it is like his movements are completely limited. Gregor_x0092_s movement was characterized by spatial movement shifts (Ryan 133-153). His voice equally changed with some of the changes that he was experiencing being generated from inside him while some were conditioned by the reaction of the society to his transformation.
The family of Gregor, including the parents and sister, reacted to these changes as to be an affront to them now that they were expecting after the support they had given him, he was supposed to support the family in return. They reacted by withdrawing from him in a move to contain the situation and in this they ended up changing their own life too. This is to show that they were also imprisoned by the transformation that had taken place in Gregor_x0092_s life (Ryan 133-153).
Some of the family members free themselves from being imprisoned by the support they were getting from Gregor. His father, who in the first place was disabled, mobilizes and gets back to work, he is transformed from being an old man and is now a bank official standing up high. The sister, on the other hand, was jobless, finds a job and is now getting a new life (Ryan 133-153).
The transformation is also evident in the reaction against the society that appeared to be bourgeois following its demands. The manifestation of physical separation by Gregor is a representation of his inarticulate and alienation yearnings. He had changed to become a vermin, and in this state, he was circumscribed and crushed by routine and authority. Gregor was imprisoned by both economic and social demands. This is evident when he is told that he should not just stay in bed being of no use to the society.
The transformation stops an imminent rebellion between a son and a father. Following his father_x0092_s failure, Gregor became stronger and by doing so, crippled the self-esteem of his father and assumed the position of the father. After the metamorphosis, the process reverses as Gregor becomes weak and he is killed by the father (Kafka 67).
This transformation that Gregor went through is not an allegory or a dream but a description of the inside feelings of a person who is likely to be a bug. After the metamorphosis, his life is tied up with shame, humiliation, alienation, self-abasement, aloneness, helplessness, and rage following his condition.
Before the transformation, he had managed to keep in check all these emotions. This can be interpreted as an arraignment of the overly ordered and a life full of repression of human beings class who serve in the system and are scared of the authorities, who keep on bullying each other while at the same time they are bullied by the state, as well as by the economic situation that does not give any hope.
The transformation of Gregor into an insect acts as a literal expression of what he regarded as his position in the society, of the fate which he surely deserves. The ugliness that is associated with the shape of the insect, the way it manages to frighten others, speaks to his self-hatred and anger (Greve 40-57). When the story approaches its end, the sister, who is the only part of the society that stuck with him throughout after the transformation, also turns on him. She gets enough of his ugliness as well as the disruption that he had caused in her life following his condition. She turns out to be violinist at some point, yet when Gregor was still working as a traveling salesman, he was hoping to take her to a conservatory (Gallagher 74).
The transformation that Gregor underwent resulted in the family turning to be cruel to him. At first, Gregor understood that anybody, regardless of how close to him the person was, could be frightened by his appearance. However, the family continues to isolate him for a long time by locking him without even trying to reach out to him as the family. It is only the sister who tried on several occasions to visit the room but then she also barely tolerated being around him.
At some point, when Gregor manages to escape from his cell, the father is seen throwing apples at him with the aim of hurting him. Gregor has to come to a stop following the alarm now that there was no point to keep running now that the father was fully determined to stop him. The father sunk an apple into Gregor_x0092_s shell as he merely sat on the wall and following this incident, the family leaves him to wither away and die in his room alone (Bruce 107-125).
At the end of the story, the family is seen to go for a trip as a celebration of the freedom they now enjoyed from Gregor. The parents clearly state that their daughter now has the room to blossom and can now get married. By Gregor transforming into an insect, he was not the only one who was imprisoned by the society him but the family as well.
Bruce, Iris. _x0093_Elements of Jewish Folklore in Kafka_x0092_s Metamorphosis._x0094_ The Metamorphosis: Translation, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. Ed. Stanley Corngold. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996. 107-125. Print
Gallagher, David. Metamorphosis: The Transformation of the Body and the Influence of Ovid_x0092_s Metamorphosis on Germanic Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. New York: Rodopi, 2009. Print.
Greve, Anniken. _x0093_The Human Body and the Human Being in _x0093_Die Verwandlung._x0094_ Franz Kafka: Narration, Rhetoric, & Reading. Ed. Jakob Lothe, and Beatrice Sandberg, and Ronald Speirs. Columbus: The Ohio State University, 2011. 40-57. Print
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis. New York: Simon & Brown, 2016
Ryan, Michael. “Samsa and Samsara: Suffering, Death and Rebirth in The Metamorphosis”. German Quarterly. Durham, NC. 72 (1999) (2): 133_x0096_152