The Role Of The Father In Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis?

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After first reading Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, one may have difficulty finding any significance in the tale. On the surface, the story appears to be an absurd if not slightly depressing story that’s simply about a man transforming into a bug and gradually being rejected by his family until his eventual death. Even more puzzling, we see Gregor physically transform however his character stays astoundingly the same – like when he was human, he spends most of his time in isolation and still feels a sense of responsibility for his family’s financial situation. However, once one digs a little deeper, the story can be understood in a new light by looking outside of Gregor’s transformation and examining the other instances in …show more content…
When we are first introduced to Mr. Samsa, he is described as being “still healthy enough but an old man” and it is explained “for the past five years… he had put on a lot of weight and become sluggish” (Kafka, 79). From these descriptions, the reader observes that over the years, Mr. Samsa’s capability to effectively provide for his family had diminished while Gregor stepped in and became the family’s financial backbone. However, with Gregor no longer able to provide for the family, we see his father undergo a metamorphosis as he reenters the workforce. On page 89 of The Sons, the reader observes Gregor’s amazement as he sees his father go from a man who shuffled “laboriously forward with the help of his crook-handled cane” whenever he went out with his family to one who “was standing straight as a stick” and whose “black eyes darted fresh and penetrating glances” (Kafka). From this defining moment onward, Mr. Samsa gains back his dominance as the head of the household and takes on an even more authoritative role than before. His daughter, Grete, undergoes an even more evident …show more content…
Additionally, page 82 points out that before Gregor’s transformation, it is revealed that Grete’s parents “had frequently been annoyed with her for being as they thought a somewhat useless girl” (Kafka, 82). However, the reader sees Grete begin to change as she takes on the role being Gregor’s caretaker. Over time, Grete becomes more sure and confident of her abilities and even eventually insists on being Gregor’s sole caretaker, highlighting her newly developing assertiveness and independence. Grete’s metamorphosis can be observed outside of taking care of Gregor as well. By getting a job and helping out around the house more frequently, Grete transitions from being “useless” to an important member of the family. No longer being the quiet girl whispering into Gregor’s door in the beginning of the story, Grete becomes an important voice in family discussions. She even becomes the one who suggests that the family should get rid of Gregor, which signals a significant change in her reasoning and willingness to speak up. By the end of the story, Grete has “bloomed into a pretty girl with a good figure” (Kafka, 111) who will soon be ready to marry and has a promising future ahead of her. Her metamorphosis becomes one of the factors that affects the overall function of the

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