● For an opening, the first sentence of the novella is pretty hard to beat for sheer absurdity. The idea of waking up as an insect is so extraordinary that you might find yourself re-reading the sentence, trying to figure out if there's anything in those "unsettling dreams" that precipitated the change. That's part of the game the story plays with you – can people just change overnight? Does there have to be a cause?
This quotation, one of the most famous opening lines in modern literature, introduces the subject matter of The Metamorphosis and indicates how that subject matter will be treated throughout the story. The line has a notably flat, matter-of-fact tone that doesn’t remark on the oddness of the incident. On the contrary, the line treats Gregor’s change as though it were an ordinary event, and it never raises the issue of how or why Gregor undergoes his metamorphosis, implying that the change has occurred without any particular cause or for any particular reason. In doing so, it creates a sense that the world we see in the story is inherently purposeless and random, rather than rational and ordered, and that such events are to some degree to be expected. Thus the opening line exemplifies the idea of absurdism, which asserts that humans exist in an irrational, chaotic universe beyond our full understanding.
Although the opening line is narrated in the third person, it also reflects Gregor’s own attitude toward his change. Gregor never attempts to determine why or how he transformed into a bug. Instead, he appears to accept the change as an unfortunate incident, like an accident or illness, and doesn’t get particularly upset about it. In fact, after his transformation he continues to think about relatively normal subjects, like his family’s financial situation and his own physical comfort. Consequently, Gregor himself embodies this absurdist point of view exemplified in the opening line. He is the victim of an evidently purposeless and random metamorphosis, which he treats as though it were not completely unusual, suggesting he at least somewhat expects the world he lives in to be an irrational and chaotic place.
●Again, Mr. Samsa's behavior toward Gregor is brutal. Instead of trying to understand Gregor, he's more intent on punishing Gregor.
Mr. Samsa hardly comes out a sympathetic character here. His reaction to Gregor's condition is hostility, rather than patience or empathy.
●Grete says these words to the father toward the end of Part 3 after Gregor inadvertently reveals himself to the boarders, and the quotation marks a turning point in the family’s view of Gregor’s humanity as well as in the level of sympathy they feel for him. To this point in the story, the Samsa family has struggled to determine how much of Gregor’s humanity remains. Physically Gregor has changed completely, and since he is unable to speak, the family has no way of knowing whether his mind remains intact. The mother, most notably, has held onto the belief that Gregor will eventually return to his old self, and she uses this reasoning to argue against moving all the furniture out of Gregor’s room. The father appears to be uncertain one way or another. He feels pity for the bug after attacking it, but when Grete says they must get rid of it, he mostly questions whether the bug might be able to understand them, suggesting he is unsure of his own feelings on the matter. Grete, however, has gradually lost faith that any humanity remains in the bug at all, and she indicates that she no longer thinks of it as Gregor.
Moreover, the family has lost sympathy for the bug as they have become less certain that anything of Gregor remains and as the bug has become a greater burden to them. While Grete initially took care of Gregor just after his transformation, even taking his feelings into account in trying to determine what food he likes and moving the chair to the window for him, she has stopped caring for