Shape and Form

The story of The Metamorphosis is one that is very subtle and very delicate. Kafka wrote in a
fashion that would allow a reader to interpret the story in a way that may be different each time it
is read. From the beginning, we see that a young, hard working, man, Gregor, has turned into
a bug, and as the story continues, one can see that he was much more than an insect. What else
could he be? Even after his death, it is obvious that Gregor was there for a cause. His family
depended on him for their happiness. The purpose for his existence was to serve his family. His
mother and father created him and were the driving force behind his physical change. There was a
lack of communication that existed throughout the story that revealed how unappreciated they were
of Gregor and his sister, who was on her way towards becoming like her brother.

Gregor was very important to the family\'s welfare. At first he was the only working
member of the family, and his job was very important; the whole future of Gregor and his family
depended on it (p.84). For so long he wanted to quit his work, because he wasn\'t happy with it.
But he said to himself, " Besides, I have to provide for my parents and my sister. (pp.
82-83)." He felt that his family was too dependent of him. When Gregor wouldnt let anyone in his
room in fear that they would be horrified by his condition, he thought that his family was harassing
him because he was in danger of losing his job, and because the chief would begin harassing his
parents again for the old debts" (p. 76). At this point, everyone was angry and wanted him to get
up for work.

All that mattered to the family was what Gregor was able to provide. After his secret of
change to an insect was discovered, they realized that he was no longer of any use to the family,
and he was unappreciated in every way. He didn\'t have his job and no longer had anything to offer.
"The house soon started to fall apart; the household was reduced more and more "(p. 113). Gregor
was now a problem for he had no function in the family. They locked him up, imprisoning him by
not allowing him out of his room. Slowly, his possessions were removed, and for some time no one
bothered to clean his room, the cleaning of his room could not have been more hastily
done. "Streaks of dirt stretched along the walls, here and there lay balls of dust and filth." (pp.
114-115). Anything that was not needed for the moment was simply thrown into Gregors room.
They couldn\'t see beyond the obvious. To them he was only a bug and not Gregor. For this
reason, they simply did not show him the respect that he deserved.

Understanding Gregor was something that his parents failed to do. Even before his
metamorphosis, there was a communication problem within the family. When Gregor first speaks
to answer his mother, he didn\'t recognize his own voice. Kafka explains: "Gregor had a shock as
he heard his own voice answering hers, unmistakably his own voice, it was true, but with a
persistent horrible twittering squeak behind it like an undertone, that left the words in their clear
shape only for the first moment and then rose up reverberating round them to destroy their sense,
so that one could not be sure one had heard them rightly" (p. 70). As awful as he sounded,
his mother did not recognize the difference in his voice, suggesting that they didn\'t speak often.

Nothing changed after his metamorphosis, however, and the family continued to
misunderstand Gregor. They failed to realize that, even as a bug, Gregor was still there and that he
could understand everything they had to say. Many times he tried to show his loyalty, "but the
more humbly he bent his head his father only stamped on the floor the more loudly (p.
86)." His sister, whom Gregor trusted most, even tried to convince his parents that Gregor is no
longer with them. "My dear parents, she said, things cant go on like this. I