The title of the story “The Metamorphosis” is actually a misnomer. A closer reading reveals that there is actually no metamorphosis that took place. Merriam-Webster defines metamorphosis as the “change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means; a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.” While there seems to be a change in the appearance of the story’s main character, it is evident that physical change is not the center of the story.
While reading the story, the reader will immediately conclude that the story does not dwell on how Gregor Samsa physically transformed to a giant bug. In fact, it is surprising that the main character was hardly interested about how he physically transformed instantaneously into bug and instead he immediately accepted his situation. If the physically transformation is not issue in this story, then the only conclusion is that it is something other than the physical transformation but a mental one.
Gregor Samsa did not actually turn into a bug but rather he was only awakened to the reality that he had been a bug for a long time. He reached a state of awakening or realization. Just like other insects which are purposely designed by nature to work for the survival of the entire colony, Gregor Samsa has been living a life of an insect as he himself had been working for the survival of his family. In the process he lost sight of his relationship with them. He has no friends. He hates his boss, his work and his colleagues. He has no life. He does not even have a pleasant relationship with his family. He could not even see the external world as he attempts to look at it through the window. He realizes that he had alienated himself from his society and from himself. The real transformation actually happened is in his mind as he was awakened to the reality that he has been a slave of his family.
The concept of power was also evident in the story. It is very ironic because before Gregor Samsa’s awakening, he is supposed to have a position of power and authority within his family. As the sole provider and earner for the family, he is obeyed by the members of his family. Money translates to power in the household of Gregor Samsa. He is the one who made the decision for the family. However, it is clear that the power being discussed here was only superficial as he is only seen by his own family as a person who delivers the fat paycheck for the family’s survival. Until his realization that he was a bug, he actually did not hold any power in the family.
Eastern philosophy deals with the concept of Samsara and Nirvana. For the…