While the most obvious transformation that takes place in Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” is the physical change of Gregor Samsa, the reality is that physical transformation is where the change in Gregor begins and ends. Despite the fact that Gregor actually does wake up one day to discover that he has transformed into a giant bug, this rather extraordinary occurrence does not result in any internal change. Gregor the human who asserts that “If I didn’t have my parents to think about I’d have given in my notice a long time ago” is the very same as Gregor the bug who never did and likely never would have taken such forceful control of his life (Kafka 2003).
Gregor’s transformation into a bug is merely a symbolic one that underlines his life as a bug. As a human he gave into the demands of society and his family. This theme is explored by the rise of his sister from a similar buglike status to a force of will as a result of Gregor’s condition. Grete’s transformation results from the “romantic enthusiasm of girls her age, which seeks to indulge itself at every opportunity, played a part, by tempting her to make Gregor’s situation even more terrifying in order that she might do even more for him” (Kakfa 2003). In fact, Grete cannot do much more for him and certainly not enough to bring him back to a state of humanity, which is just as well since it wouldn’t really matter.
What does matter is that both Gregor’s physical transformation and Grete’s psychological transformation join together to have the ultimate effect of altering the very foundation of the family. As the story closes, the members of Gregor’s family have been transformed to the point where they “discussed their prospects and found that on closer examination they were not at all bad – until then they had never asked each other about their work but all three had jobs which were very good and held particularly good promise for the future” (Kafka 2003).