waking up one morning and suddenly you are a bug. Last night, when you went to sleep you were an ordinary man. Today, youre a bug. Gregor Samsa does just that, and suddenly his life is thrown completely off track. No longer is he the sole breadwinner for his mother, father and sister. He is now the burden that they have been to him. His mundane job as a traveling salesman has been replaced with the confusing life he lives as a bug. It is this image of the bug he has become that is the focus of Frank Kafka, and it is the bug that represents Gregors ultimate desire to no longer bear the responsibility of a family, and what eventually brings his familys true character to light.
Gregor is not the narrator in the story, but the narrator is right along with Gregor through his discoveries of his bug form. The description of the form is so blunt, and precise that you cannot mistake him for imagining himself as a bug, when perhaps he really is not one. His “numerous little legs which never stopped waving in all directions and which he could not control in the least” seem to represent his life, his career and his responsibilities. He is unable to control his own life because of his family and the care of them that has fallen on his shoulders. His body is described as being large and difficult to maneuver which represents Gregors emotions. This idea is supported even more when his father attacks him with apples; one of the apples pierces his skin (his heart or feelings), which is so painful to him that he blacks out. He is dealt a terrible blow with the apple, and the demeaning which accompanies the incident, and though it is obvious that the apple remains, no one sees fit to remove it, adding insult to injury.
Gregor worries constantly about the feelings of his family, especially when it comes to his sister Grete. When she nourishes him daily, he hides his hideous form in order to not offend her. I see this as Gregors way of shielding her from the ugliness of reality. Again it is also his way of deriving pleasure from pleasing his family, for he enjoys seeing her seem thankful, despite the discomfort the sheet causes him. What causes him the most discomfort is how much his appearance still bothers her, when he feels that he is the same person inside. However, Gregor himself is the ugliness he is saving her from, and his increasingly bug-like wants and needs are also beginning to surface.
As with his food desires, he eats more like a bug would — turning away from milk and bread but devouring old vegetables and fruits, leftovers and scraps from previous meals, and “a piece of cheese that Gregor would have called uneatable two days ago.” Despite his clear disdain when he first realized he was a bug, Gregor eventually adjusts his lifestyle to fit, as he has done so many times before. When his mother and father could no longer work, he adjusted his life to accommodate theirs. He got up earlier than anyone else, went to a job that he hated and worked day in and day out in order to pay off his fathers debt, keep the family well fed.