Comparison Essay on “The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug” and “The Metamorphosis”

In, The Metamorphosis, the narrator, which is a third-person limited narrator (mainly heterodiegetic narrator), tells the story about Gregor waking up as an enormous bug. The narrator describes Gregor’s thoughts, feelings of his transformation, and analyzes what is going on outside of Gregor’s mind. However, this narration is only limited to Gregor’s thoughts. I was not able to hear the thoughts of Gregor’s father, mother, and the chief clerk. I also was not able to experience how these characters felt when they encountered Gregor as a bug for the first time. The narrator just simply spoke about what she/he saw and these characters reactions but I was not able to get access to each character’s mind. Therefore, by retelling the the story from a third-person limited narrator to a third-person omniscient narrator (heterodiegetic narrator), I received access to the undesirable and frightful thoughts and feelings of the mother, father, and chief clerk as opposed to the original text.

In the retelling, The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug, the mother is portrayed as being very distraught of Gregor’s newly transformed body. When the mother had her first encounter with Gregor as a bug, she immediately “fell unconscious to the floor.” The narrator describes Mrs. Samsa’s unconsciousness as “anguish for her son turning into a household pest” and that she felt astonished and depressed for Gregor’s situation. In, The Metamorphosis, when the mother encountered Gregor as a bug for the first time, the narrator only describes how the mother “sank to the floor into her skirts,” how the mother’s “skirt spread themselves out” as she laid on the floor, and how her “head disappeared down into her breast” (Page 2, p. 2). These were all observations from the narrator of the mother’s reactions but there were no descriptions of her feelings. Moreover, in, The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug, when the mother witnessed her son falling on the ground and landing on his “numerous, hairy legs,” the narrator got access to the mother’s thoughts by showing her reminiscing on “Gregor’s face as a young boy, then as a mature man.” The retelling of the story showed us that Mrs. Samsa really cared about her son and that she wanted Gregor’s old body to return, unlike the father. However, in The Metamorphosis, when the mother saw her son crouched on the ground with his numerous little legs, the narrator just states that she “was engrossed in herself.” The narrator does not state what she was thinking instead she/he shows the mother screaming after she has witnessed Gregor’s new body.

As for Gregor’s father, he looked very appalled and unaccepting of Gregor’s newly transformed body in both the retelling and original story, however, in, The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug, the father’s feelings were well represented with his dissenting actions. When the father encountered Gregor as a bug for the first time, all he could think about was himself and the financial burden of the family’s needs such as, “How was the family going to be taken cared of?” “What he was going to?” “How the vermin (Gregor) was going to take care of him?” He was not stating, what happened to my beloved son? Instead he was “hostile” and did not want to accept that Gregor had turned into an insect. In, The Metamorphosis, the narrator merely states “he looked hostile and that his fist was clenched as if he wanted to knock Gregor back into his room” (Page 20, p.2). The narrator did not state the father’s feelings and I was not able to know what the father was thinking as he was weeping (Page 20, p.2). Moreover, in, The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug, the father’s disgust for his son is clearly seen when the narrator states that the “father no longer considered Gregor as a son but as a repulsive pest that needed to die.” As the father was chasing Gregor with the chief clerk’s stick, all he was stating was, “get out, get out, get out you filthy pest.” When I read this scene from the rewrite, it showed that the father really despised Gregor, that he had no sympathy for his son’s dreary situation, and that he had no love for Gregor. As opposed to the original text, the father is continually shown as being very angry with Gregor without any explanation for his hostility. In, The Metamorphosis, the narrator explains how Gregor was fearful of getting a “lethal blow in his head or back with the stick that was in his father’s hand and how he was getting confused by the loud hissing” that was being done by his father when he was trying to return to his room (Page 22, p. 2 & Page 23, p.1), however, there were no feelings and thoughts of the father being portrayed in this scene.

With the chief clerk, I was able to get a recollection of his past in, The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug. When the chief clerk saw Gregor as a bug for the first time, he started to think “back on his youth and how he detested insects for their dreadful appearance.” The rewrite allowed me to get to know the chief clerk personally by reminiscing on the things that he dreaded as a child. In, The Metamorphosis, the chief clerk’s simply puts his hands on his open mouth as he slowly backs away from seeing Gregor’s newly transformed body (Page 20, p.2). Another detail that the rewrite gave was with, the chief clerk giving a thorough description of what Gregor’s new body looked like to him. For example, the chief clerk described Gregor as having a “big stature, numerous, hairy legs, moving in all directions, and an antenna moving back and forth like a pendulum of a clock.” Although, the description of Gregor’s new body was being told throughout the original story, it was nice to hear it from another character’s point of view. Also, in, The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug, the chief clerk’s frightful thoughts were shown when he thinks that Gregor was going to “consume every part of his flesh” and that “he did not want to be touched by the hideous creature (Gregor Samsa).” As opposed to, The Metamorphosis, the narrator does not state the chief clerk’s thoughts or feeling for the situation, he merely is seen as trying to get to the entrance hall of Gregor’s home in order to escape (Page 21, p.2).

In conclusion, the retelling of The Metamorphosis from third-person limited to third-person omniscient shows readers that Gregor’s mother still acknowledged her son, although, she was frightened and did not know how to deal with his new body. As for the chief clerk, he was depicted as frightened and that he saw Gregor as a “hideous creature,” rather than being Gregor Samsa. And finally, the father was repulsed at Gregor and did not “consider him as a son but as a repulsive pest”. The omniscient narrator gave readers more insight on the other characters and gave each character’s different point of view to reflect on.

 

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