Summary of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
A research paper that summarizes Kafka's The Metamorphosis due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?
Franz Kafka‘s The Metamorphosis tells the tragic story of Gregor Samsa, a hard-working traveling salesman who awakens one day to find himself transformed into a giant insect. Initially, Gregor attempts to hide his transformation from his family and work. However, his boss visits Gregor’s home and the truth is quickly revealed. Gregor attempts to talk to the other humans but his voice has changed as well, making his attempts to speak incomprehensible.
Gregor’s family lock him in his room. His sister Grete brings him food, such as milk and bread, but Gregor has no appetite for human food. His eyesight declines as he acquires more bug-like behaviors, such as a preference for staying in the dark under furniture.
Gregor’s family struggles to earn money in order to make up for the loss of Gregor’s salary. Grete and Gregor’s parents are resentful for the change of financial situation and begin to neglect Gregor. The family allow three lodgers to move into their home, filling Gregor’s already small room with extra furniture. Gregor is miserable in his imprisonment. When the lodgers discover his existence, they refuse to pay. Grete turns on Gregor, urging her parents to get rid of him because he is causing them so much pain and trouble. Gregor hears her, goes back into his room and dies the next morning. Gregor’s death frees his family from the burden of his care. They mourn him but are happy with the final outcome.
Other topics on The Metamorphosis for a research paper may be:
- The story of The Metamorphosis
- The theme within The Metamorphosis
- The character of Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis
Another Brief Summary of The Metamorphosis
The first section begins by immediately presenting the most important component in any piece of fiction: the complication. One morning, the protagonist Gregor Samsa awakes to find himself transformed (by means and for reasons we can only guess at) into a giant insect. Kafka backs up this incredible statement with details of both the physical setting and nature of the predicament, along with the reminder that "It was no dream." The events are narrated from inside of Samsa's mind, relating his thoughts on his life up to that point, so the setting of the scene doubles as a character sketch. Samsa performs only three significant actions in the entire story, one in each section, and each time the result of these actions precipitates the climax of that section.
In section I this occurs when, out of purest optimism (and in a telling critique of the character), Samsa decides to ignore the fact that he is now a giant bug and attempt to go to work anyway--after all, there are bills to be paid. He opens his door and reveals himself to the rest of his family and the chief clerk. Of course, their response is decisively negative. His mother faints, the chief clerk flees, and his father shoves him back into the room from whence he came, as can only be expected from people who have just seen a four-foot beetle crawl out of their son's room. In context, the subclimax of the first section proves that Samsa's initial hopes of simply ignoring the change which has overcome him is not a viable solution in the eyes of his family or the rest of the world.
The second section begins with a brief page of Samsa's thoughts which recap the conclusion made in the first. It gives him time to formulate another plan on how he and his family will deal with his new life as an insect, since it is clear that the condition will not simply go away by itself (at least not soon). Again, Kafka reveals Samsa's personality and feelings about his family in the solution he proposes.
He stayed there all night... partly in worrying and sketching vague hopes, which all led to the same conclusion, that he must lie low for the present and, by exercising patience and utmost consideration, help the family to bear the inconvenience he was bound to cause them in his present condition.
Very early in the morning, it was still almost night, Gregor had the chance to test the strength of his new resolutions...
Samsa's sister, sensitive to the changing needs of this insect part of his identity, decides to remove the furniture from his room. But as the mother points out, and Gregor comes to see, removing the old furniture threatens his identity; it will amputate his humanity entirely, continuing his degeneration into a repulsive insect.
Ever since his transformation Gregor’s health has deteriorated: the wound in from the apple is infected, and now he is so weak he can hardly move. The family, on the other hand, is reminded of how much Gregor’s support once meant to them, as the financial burden placed on each of them has forced them to get new jobs, lay off the extra help, and even rent out a room of their home. And despite their valiant efforts, they are being brought to their knees. However, it is Gregor himself that gives up on them by his complacency.
…that for the time being he would have to lie low and, by being patient and showing his family every possible consideration, help them bear the inconvenience which he simply had to cause them in his present condition.
This is not a plan of action offering hope for the future; it is a warrant for Gregor's death. Thus the story illustrates how Gregor finds no meaning in life because his family and acquaintances have given up on him and he actively gave up on them.