If only the sister had been there! She was perceptive; she had already begun to cry when Gregor was still lying quietly on his back.
Gregor thinks this to himself after the head clerk sees him and begins to leave. Gregor knows he must be stopped but has no way of communicating this to his parents. Gregor’s desire for Grete to come to his rescue reveals their close relationship. Gregor views his sister as perceptive and sympathetic because she seems to have known that something was wrong with him before she saw him.
She did not immediately find him, but when she noticed him underneath the sofa . . . she was so startled that, unable to control herself, she slammed the door shut from the outside. But, as if regretting her behavior, she instantly reopened it and tiptoed in as though she were visiting someone seriously ill or even a stranger.
Here, the narrator describes the moment Grete comes into Gregor’s room for the first time since his transformation. Despite being startled by Gregor’s appearance, Grete forces herself to enter the room. Gregor notes her treatment of him as an invalid or stranger, not as a brother. In the days to come, she alone takes care of him despite her youth and her own discomfort, which reflects her sympathetic nature at the beginning of the story.
If only Gregor had been able to speak with the sister and thank her for everything she was obliged to do for him, he could have borne her ministrations more easily; as it was they oppressed him.
After noting all Grete does for him, Gregor reflects on his inability to thank her. He gratefully remarked on her perceptiveness and kindheartedness earlier in the story. Now Gregor views her continuous aid as somewhat of a burden, as he typically plays the role of caretaker.
No longer concerning herself about what Gregor might particularly care for, the sister hastily shoved any old food through the door to Gregor’s room with her foot, both morning and noon before she raced to work, and in the evening cleared it all out with one sweep of the broom, indifferent to whether the food had only been tasted or—as was most frequently the case—left completely untouched.
The more time passes after Gregor’s transformation, the less patient Grete seems to be in caring for him. While she once paid attention to what food Gregor ate more of, she now doesn’t seem to notice that he barely eats at all. As a result of the change in Gregor’s physical form, Grete has gone through her own sort of transformation from kindhearted to indifferent.
He would stand guard at all the doors simultaneously, hissing at the attackers; the sister, however, would not be forcibly detained but would stay with him of her own free will.
As Gregor inches out of his room to hear Grete playing the violin, he fantasizes about getting her to spend time with him in his room and keeping others out. He imagines that she would not stay due to force but would choose to stay. Here, Gregor pictures their relationship as it used to be, when he took care of her instead of her taking care of him and before Grete lost her sympathy for him.