A Psychological Approach to The Metamorphosis by Kafka

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Because The Metamorphosis seems to be a story about how he thinks of himself somewhat as an insect in his own life or world, I chose to read it from the psychological approach. The Metamorphosis begins with Gregor Samsa waking up to discover that he has His first thoughts are that it’s a dream so he tries to changed into a “monstrous cockroach”. fall back asleep, because of his condition (the curved back particularly) he cannot fall back asleep.

It was only when his family knocks on his door wondering why he hasn’t left for work yet that he realizes that his condition (being a cockroach) is not a dream. Reading about Gregor’s reactions to his metamorphosis, he is quite calm about it. He still is focusing on going to work for his family, regardless of his condition, “His immediate intention was to get up calmly and leisurely, to get dressed, and above all, to have breakfast before deciding what to do next” (947). Would one expect someone to wake up and find themselves turned into a cockroach and yet, still be thinking about his job and supporting his family?

As the story continues, Gregor is barricaded in his room and his family takes care of him, but, they are still revolted by his being a bug. He notices that his household is significantly changing due to his transformation. Particularly among these changes is his father being much more strong and active due to having been forced to do so, “The same man who had lain feebly buried in bed…. And now here he was fairly erect; wearing a smart blue uniform with gold buttons, like the door-man of a bank” (966). Gregor often ponders on the effect that his continued presence has on his family, he also thinks of his past plans.

He had planned to pay off his debt to his boss, send his sister to violin school, and move up in the world. Finally, when the tale reaches a climax and the family loses boarders because of Gregor’s unsavory form, his sister (who he has long thought of as the closest person to him) says that if he truly wanted what’s best for the family, he would have left already. She even says that the “it” is not Gregor and that they must get rid of it. After Gregor laboriously returns to his room, he notices how his family seems to resent him now.

Thinking of his present bodily pains and noticing how they seemed to be slowly seeping from him, he felt peace. “He thought back on his family with devotion and love. His conviction that he needed to disappear was, if anything, still firmer than his sister’s” (975). He dies seeing the first light of dawn. All throughout his ordeal as an oversized cockroach, Gregor’s greatest concern was still his family. Although the ways to analyze this are endless, I think that Kafka was trying to say that no matter how we may change on the outside, our priorities remain the same (in this case, his family and what is best for them).

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A Psychological Approach to The Metamorphosis by Kafka. (2023, Jan 03). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/a-psychological-approach-to-the-metamorphosis-by-kafka/

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