The Metamorphosis

by: Franz Kafka

Important Quotations Explained

4. “He must go,” cried Gregor’s sister, “that’s the only solution, Father. You must just try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor. The fact that we’ve believed it for so long is the root of all our trouble.”

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 Gregor entirely by this point. In fact, the family begins using his room as a storage closet without any concern for Gregor’s comfort, suggesting they have hardly any sympathy remaining for Gregor at all. When Gregor reveals himself to the boarders, causing the boarders to say they’re leaving without paying rent, Grete finally decides they must get rid of Gregor. Without any faith that the bug is still Gregor, and with Gregor now costing the family more money, her sympathy runs out. The parents weakly object, but with only a little effort Grete appears to convince them of her point of view, indicating that they also feel little sympathy for Gregor by this point.