“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka presents various themes throughout the story. Most of the themes are centered on Gregor Samsa. Unfortunately for Gregor, the metamorphosis that takes place in the beginning leads to a change that he was not accustomed to after transforming into an insect. Some of those themes presented throughout the story are alienation, an unusual life, and personal identity. Not only does Gregor experience a transformation, his family as a whole, especially Grete Samsa, also experience a metamorphosis throughout the story.
One theme of the story is alienation. After the transformation of Gregor, he becomes alienated and distant to the outside world around him including his own family. He had no way to communicate with his family because he was unable to speak to them. Gregor’s inability to talk with the ones he loved creates a sad and helpless feeling for the reader. After his metamorphosis, Gregor is stationed in his own room with his windows and doors shut. He becomes isolated from his parents after they cannot accept the fact that he has transformed into an insect. His mother fainted when she first sees him because she is disgusted by the way he looks and his father shows no sympathy for him as well. This was illustrated when the father throws an apple at Gregor that gets lodged in his back. The apple did not only physically injure Gregor, but it also mentally affected him as a sign that his father did not love him. Grete was originally close with Gregor and acted as his caretaker in the beginning by stopping in his room to feed him. As the story went on, Grete grew tired of taking care of Gregor and became disgusted as well about the way he looked. It was apparent that there became more and more separation between them. Gregor started to hide under the couch when Grete would enter the room as a result of him transforming with his insect thoughts and feelings. Eventually, Grete sided with her parents about Gregor and did not look at him the same anymore. The family did not care about Gregor any longer and used his room while he was still in there primarily as a storage room. Similarly to Gregor’s alienation after his transformation, it was mentioned before Gregor’s metamorphosis that he was unable to build close relationships with others because he was a traveling salesman. This was a consequence of constantly working and not having the time to spend with his family and friends. Gregor really has no friends. His mother illustrates this when the chief clerk comes to the apartment to see why Gregor has not come to work and she says, “The boy thinks about nothing but his work. It makes me almost cross the way he never goes out in the evening” (60). Gregor’s transformation into an insect completely alienates him from the human race.
Another theme of the story is an unusual life. Starting with the first paragraph, Gregor wakes up to realize that he has transformed into an insect without any explanation. This supernatural occurrence leaves the reader questioning how and why this event happened. One would think that there was a reason that Gregor had this happen to him but there are no signs that he deserved it. From how Gregor is described, he sounds like a respectable guy who takes care of his family. It is surprising that Gregor never questioned why the transformation happened to him or what he could do change things back to normal. He worries about the consequences of missing work but not about his physical state. Instead, Gregor continues living his life in his room and tries to adjust to what makes him and his insect body more comfortable. The reactions of Gregor’s family also add to the strangeness of the world they were living in. The father, mother, and sister of Gregor do not act as if his transformation is anything out of the ordinary. While Gregor was in his room, his mother still wanted to see him and cried out, “Let me in to see Gregor, he is my unfortunate