Metamorphosis Book Summary – Franz Kafka

Metamorphosis Book Summary - Franz Kafka
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“The Metamorphosis” is a long story by Franz Kafka. Originally published in 1915, it is one of Franz Kafka’s most popular works. The story begins with Gregor Samsa waking up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect, and it continues by narrating the changes in his life.

Summary of Metamorphosis Book

The Metamorphosis story begins with the Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, waking up to find himself transformed into a bedridden insect. He looks around, and his room appears normal, deciding to go back to sleep to forget the events. However, due to his new body, he is unable to turn around – he is stuck on his hard, armored back. When he attempts to turn back, he realizes he cannot due to his new insectile body. He attempts to scratch an itchy spot on his belly, recoiling in disgust when he touches it with one of his many new legs.

Gregor, a man who works as a traveling salesman to support his family, wakes up one morning to the find himself transformed into a big giant insect. He attempts to get up, but due to his new body, he struggles. As he tries to move, he hears his boss, the office manager, arrive at his family’s apartment to inquire why Gregor missed the morning train.

Unable to unlock the door with his newfound body, Gregor eventually succeeds by using his mouth. Upon opening the door, he horrifies his boss, who quickly flees the apartment. Gregor is herded back into his room by his father, who uses a cane and a rolled-up newspaper. After the incident, Gregor falls asleep.

When Gregor wakes up, he finds that someone has placed milk and bread in his room. Initially excited, he quickly learns that he has no taste for the milk, which used to be one of his favorite foods. He hides under a couch and listens to the quiet apartment. The next morning, his sister Grete enters, sees that he hasn’t touched the milk, and replaces it with decaying scraps of food, which Gregor happily consumes.

This routine becomes the norm as Grete feeds and cleans for Gregor, who hides under the couch when she enters the room, frightened by his appearance. Gregor spends his time listening to his family’s conversations through the walls. He often overhears them discussing their financial struggles since he can no longer provide for them. He also learns that his mother wants to visit him, but his sister and father won’t allow it.

Gregor becomes more comfortable with his transformed body. He starts climbing the walls and ceiling for amusement. Grete decides to remove some furniture to give him more space, which deeply disturbs Gregor.

One evening, while the cleaning lady and the boarders are in the living room, Grete decides to play the violin for them. Gregor, drawn to the music, ventures out of his room. The boarders initially show interest in Grete’s playing, but they soon become bored, while Gregor is captivated. One of the boarders notices Gregor and becomes alarmed. Gregor’s father tries to force the boarders out of the apartment, but they protest, announcing that they will move out immediately due to the squalid conditions of the apartment.

The family is left with no choice but to consider Gregor a burden. Grete suggests they must get rid of him to improve their situation. Gregor understands and slowly makes his way back to his room. That night, his family leaves the door open to let him watch them. However, their attitudes change, and Gregor’s family now views him with resentment. They even hire a cheap cleaning lady to take care of him, as the old one could no longer tolerate Gregor’s presence.

The family decides to move to a new, smaller apartment to save money. Grete blossoms into a beautiful young woman, and her parents begin thinking of finding her a husband. The family boards a trolley and leaves the apartment, relieved to be free from Gregor’s presence. The story concludes with the family in a positive financial state, as Gregor’s transformation saved them money. Grete regains her strength and beauty, leading her parents to consider finding her a husband.

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