Gregor must work at a job he hates to pay off his family’s debts. The family is in debt, but he is the only one who has a job. While he wakes up early and goes on the train until late at night, his father has a leisurely life. Kafka writes, “for his father breakfast was the most important meal time in the day, which he prolonged for hours by reading various newspapers. ” Instead of working, he is eating and reading newspapers for many hours.
At this time, Gregor must work to support the whole family.
Later, he finds out that the family has enough money to live on for a few years and maybe Gregor did not have to work so hard. Kafka writes, “with this excess money, he could have paid off more of his father’s debt to his employer and the day on which he could be rid of this position would have been a lot closer.
” He is like a servant, and this is not natural for a family member. Changing into the insect is symbolic of being liberated from this life. Since he is now a bug and cannot work, he does not have to be responsible for paying off the family’s debt anymore.
Instead, the family has to be responsible. Therefore, the metamorphosis is also symbolic of the family being liberated because they do not depend on Gregor anymore. They depend on themselves for support. After the change, the mother and sister must do the cooking and the family must all get jobs.
Once that happens, the family quickly decides that they do not want or need Gregor anymore. They are independent and decide that Gregor is not an important part of the family. Question 2: If the story was set in contemporary America and Gregor was working two jobs, the plot would change in many ways.
If he is working two jobs, it is probably because they are barely able to pay the debts. The family would already be working, they would not get new jobs so easily, and there would be no servant girl or lodgers. If Gregor had two jobs, the other family would probably be working too. This would change the plot significantly. If all the family is working, Gregor would not be the only one responsible for the debts. After the metamorphosis, the family would not have enough money. If they are already working and Gregor loses two jobs, the family would be more in debt every day.
Also, in the story, the family starts working soon after Gregor is changed to an insect. However, today it is not so simple to get a job like in the story. If the family has to get new jobs, it would take a long time and their debts would be higher. In addition, there would not have been a servant in the story. Kafka writes, “The servant girl was now let go. A huge bony cleaning woman with white hair flying all over her head came in the morning and evening to do the heaviest work. The mother took care of everything else in addition to her considerable sewing work.
” If Gregor was working two jobs, the family would not have a servant girl or cleaning woman. They would not have enough money and the family would do this work themselves. Also, the family gets rent from three lodgers. Today, lodgers are not so common so the family would be forced to find other ways to get money. The story does not say if the rent is a lot of money, but one of the family would have to get another job to replace the rent.
1. The Modern World. 16 Mar. 2007 <http://www.themodernword. com/kafka/index. html>. This website is a collection of information about Franz Kafka and “The Metamorphosis. ” It has a biography, review of the story, and a collection of other resources like papers, research, and websites.
2. Bloom, Harold, ed. Franz Kafka’s the Metamorphosis. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. This is a book with many essays about “The Metamorphosis. ” I read “Metamorphosis of the Metaphor” by Stanley Corngold and “From Marx to Myth: The Structure and Function of Self-Alienation in Kafka’s Metamorphosis” by Walter H.
Sokel. In “From Marx to Myth: The Structure and Function of Self-Alienation in Kafka’s Metamorphosis,” Walter H. Sokel writes Gregor turns into an insect because he has self-contempt. Sokel writes, “Seeing himself as vermin, and being treated as such by his business and family, the traveling salesman Gregor Samsa literally turns into vermin” (105). I agree with the author when he says vermin represents the way Gregor is treated, but I do not agree that Gregor sees himself this way.
Gregor does not like his job, but must go to work to “pay off my parents’ debt” to his boss. His family uses him because he can make money and pay off the debts. His boss uses him because he can make money for the company. Kafka writes about Gregor, “He was the boss’s minion, without backbone or intelligence. ” He cannot even miss work if he is sick. He certainly is treated like vermin by his family and boss. However, I do not see that Gregor thinks he is vermin until after he turns into an insect. He seems to be proud that he supports his family.
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