The Metamorphosis

metamorphosis part 2

how does Gregor treat his family during part 2? why does he act this way? what does this tell you about gregor as a person? how does this compare to the way that Gregor's family treats him? 

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Gregor's sister still retains the strong bond they had before his metamorphosis, as she assumes all responsibility for cleaning his room. Grete's attachment to her brother is demonstrated by her choice of food for him: milk, which used to be his favorite drink. It is also Grete who comes up with the idea of clearing Gregor's room of furniture so as to give him more space to move around in. Grete attempts to care for Gregor in the same way he used to care for her, but she seems driven by family duty rather than a true human bond, as we see from the fact that she never addresses Gregor directly except on one occasion when she turns to threaten him.

Noting that his parents never enter his room to bring him food, he observes: "not that they would have wanted him to starve, of course, but perhaps they could not have borne to know more about his feeding than from hearsay." They care about him, but can't stand the thought of him. Though Gregor realizes that it is natural for them to be repulsed by his form, he still wishes that they would not treat him with such neglect.

Gregor's relationship with his sister also seems tinged with resentment at times. She consistently does things to cause him discomfort: she runs through his room to open the window and she does not remove the sheet he uses to hide himself from her. Gregor assumes that, since she must realize that these things annoy him, she would not do them unless they were necessary. But Gregor cannot observe all this without feeling bitterness at no longer being treated as a member of the family. This is brought out by the differences between the ways the siblings treat each other. Gregor hides under the couch even when this is extremely uncomfortable and is willing to do four hours of work to cover himself with the blanket just so she won't have to see him. She, on the other hand, does not make such sacrifices, but rather attempts to do everything that duty demands of her in a way that would not put her to the trouble of actually having to deal with Gregor.

The relation with his parents is also somewhat strained, and has been so since before the metamorphosis. Gregor was happy to provide for them, but there was no "special uprush of warm feeling" once they got used to his providing the money. They got used, essentially, to his function as a cash dispenser. He retained a human familial relation only with his sister. Gregor clearly feels slighted by the fact that his parents began to see him as a provider and took this for granted.


Grete seems to think that Gregor cannot understand her, though he gives clear signals (somehow invisible to her) of his intelligence and concern for her.