The Dehumanization of Gregor in The Metamorphosis
In the novella The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, the main character Gregor undergoes a physical transformation from human to bug. Despite this change in appearance, he maintains his human brain as insect tendencies slowly take over his day to day behavior. He maintains his thoughtless state of mind, memories, and inner dialogue during his exterior transformation. Although he maintains his mental capacities, it is his change in appearance that causes his family to turn against him and eventually kill him. These events show how people can become dehumanized by society and the government only because of a difference in behavior or appearance.
In Gregor's case, he is transformed in an extreme manner and only remains human in his thoughts and emotions. "He found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." This extreme form of physical transformation is used to show how even a person's own family can, under certain conditions, reject, mistreat, and eventually kill because of a change in outward appearance or behavior. When Gregor first transforms they continue to believe that he is still Gregor, and they take care of his essential needs. But, as time goes on his sister Grete, who had been the one to care for him the most, begins to lose faith in his humanness. She says to her parents, "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." This same idea is reiterated when Gregor finally dies and his mother says, "Well, now thanks be to God." His family was convinced after a short while that it wasn't even their own Gregor underneath that hard exoskeleton.
Gregor's physical transformation also sparks a streak of cruelty on the part of his family. It is understandable that they be frightened when he first appears, but they continue to lock him in his room without ever trying to communicate with him. The only person who ever goes in his room on a regular basis is his sister and she can barely even tolerate his presence. At one point when...