Metamorphosis of the Family in Kafka's Metamorphosis
In Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, the nature of Gregor Samsa's reality
changes insignificantly in spite of his drastic physical changes. Gregor's
life before the metamorphosis was limited to working and caring for his
family. As a traveling salesman, Gregor worked long, hard hours that left
little time to experience "life." He reflects on his life acknowledging the
"plague of traveling: the anxieties of changing trains, the irregular,
inferior meals, the ever changing faces, never to be seen again, people
with whom one has no chance to be friendly" (Kafka 13). Gregor, working to
pay off his family's debt, has resigned himself to a life full of work.
Kafka himself paralleled this sentiment in a quote taken from his diaries
noting that no matter how hard you work "that work still doesn't entitle
you to loving concern for people. Instead, you're alone, a total stranger,
a mere object of curiosity" (Pawel 167).
Gregor submerges himself in work
and becomes a stranger to himself and to life. Any type of social contact
beyond porters, waitresses or bartenders was non-existent. He had once met
a "cashier in a hat shop, whom he had pursued earnestly but too slowly"
There was no room in Gregor's life for people other that his family and as
a result was condemned to a life without love or caring not to mention
basic companionship. He worked diligently to provide for his family and
that remained his only goal in life. Gregor's family relied on him to be
the "breadwinner" of the family, but gave him nothing in return. The life
that he had led until now was one fully of obligations and loneliness; he
came home to empty hotel rooms or his apathetic family.
His parents and "their dominance...