The Day Gregor Samsa Revealed to his Parents that he was a Bug
Once Gregor decided to leave his room, he went through his double doors to hear the chief clerk exclaim a resounding “Oh” that could be heard throughout the entire house. The chief clerk had never seen anything so unusual in his life, especially a talking enormous pest. He thought, “this must be a dream, this cannot be Gregor Samsa,” while he pressed his hands against his open mouth, he slowly retreated as if driven by an invisible force. The chief clerk thought back on his youth and how he detested insects for their dreadful appearance, especially for their numerous, undulate, hairy legs. Gregor’s mother was sitting on the couch when she saw the reaction of the chief clerk, so she unfolded her arms, rose from her seat, took two steps forward where Gregor was standing, and she immediately fell unconscious on the floor. There were no words to describe her anguish for her son turning into a household pest, all she could do was lay on the floor in utter astonishment and gloom. Gregor’s father looked hostile and clenched his fists as if wanted to knock Gregor back into his room. He could not believe that his precious, hardworking son would turn into an insect. The once strong willed lieutenant in the army was now a repulsive insect that needed to be extinguished.
“Was this the secret Gregor was hiding from us when he refuse to open his door?” thought Gregor’s father. Then, he looked uncertainly around the living room, covered his eyes with his hands and wept so that his powerful chest shook. The father was depending on Gregor to take care of the family. Not only did Gregor financially support the family but he also took care of the father and mother as they were getting older. However, these responsibilities were not of Gregor’s duties anymore because the father saw that he no longer existed anymore. “Now how is the family going to be taken cared of?” “What am I going to?” “How is this vermin going to take care of me?” “He cannot possibly be my son,” thought the father as he continue to weep all the more louder.
Gregor tried to explain to the chief clerk about his excusable tardiness for not coming to work on time but the chief clerk had turned away as soon as Gregor started to speak. He could only see Gregor’s big stature, numerous, hairy legs, moving in all directions, and his antenna moving back and forth like a pendulum of a clock. These actions made the clerk very frightened and since he could not understand most of Gregor’s speech, he thought that Gregor wanted to eat him. So, the chief clerk moved gradually to the entrance hall where he rushed forward in a panic and stretched his hands out towards the staircase in order to escape from this nightmare. “I better get out of here before he consumes every part of my flesh,” thought the chief clerk.
However, while the chief clerk made all effort to escape, Gregor realized that is was out of the question to let the chief clerk go away in this mood, especially if his position at the firm was in extreme danger of being expunged. So, without considering that he was still not familiar with how well he could move about in his present state, or that his speech might not still be understood, he let go of the door; pushed himself through the opening; tried to reach the chief clerk on the landing but immediately fell over and, with a little scream as he sought something to hold onto, landed on his numerous little legs.
As the mother witness all this, she thought of Gregor’s face as a young boy, then as a mature man. She could not believe that this vermin was her son. She closed and opened her eyes, so that Gregor’s normal body would magically reappear but it did not work. All she could see was an enormous bug. Then, in her hysteria, Gregor’s mother suddenly jumped up with her arms outstretched and her fingers spread shouting, “Help, for pity’s sake, Help.” She hurriedly moved backwards until she reached the kitchen table and quickly sat on it without realizing that all the breakfast things were on it. She did not even seem to notice that the coffee pot on the table had been knocked over and a gush of coffee was pouring down onto the carpet.
“Mother, mother,” said Gregor gently, looking up at her but he could not help himself from snapping in the air with his jaws at the sight of the flow of coffee. Mrs. Samsa saw Gregor’s movements but she could not make sense of it, so it caused her to scream anew. “Oh, my God, what is he doing?” “Oh, my God, I think he is going to kill me!” thought the mother as she fled from the table, and fell into the arms of Gregor’s father. The chief clerk had already reached the stairs of the entrance hall and Gregor did not want him to leave if he knew that he would be left without a job for this dreary situation, so he made a run for him. While the chief clerk tried to quickly leave he noticed that Gregor’s dome like body was shifting and his antenna was moving to his direction. He did not want to be touched by this hideous creature, so, he leapt down several steps at once and disappeared, while his shouts resounded all around the staircase. Gregor’s father realized that immediate action was going to have be taken to extinguish this situation. “I don’t want this thing running around my house, it needs to get out,” thought the father. So, he seized the chief clerk’s stick in his right hand, picked up a large newspaper from the table with his left, and used them to drive Gregor back into his room, stamping his foot at him as he went.
Although Gregor tried to reason with his father, his father could not understand him and wanted him to leave. He no longer considered Gregor as a son but as a repulsive pest that needed to die. Across the room, Gregor’s mother could not deal with the present ordeal and felt she was going in a state of unconsciousness, so she pulled open a window, leant far out of it, and pressed her hands to her face breathing in and out.
“Get out, get out, get out, get out, get out you filthy pest,” thought Gregor’s father as he hissed and stamped his feet to drive Gregor back to his room. Gregor had never had any practice in moving backwards and was only able to go very slowly. He did not want to get a fatal blow to his back or head from the stick in his father’s hand, so he quickly and anxiously tried to turn himself around. As this process went very slowly, Gregor’s father was becoming impatient. “I don’t want this vermin in my sight anymore,” thought the father. So, he used the tip of his stick to give directions from a distance on which way to turn as he kept hissing at Gregor to get back in his room. When Gregor had finally turned around, he was pleased that his head was in front of the doorway, but then he saw that it was too narrow, and his body was too broad to get through it without difficulty. “Finally, he is almost out of my sight, he needs to hurry up,” thought the father. In the father’s present mood, he did not have the idea that Gregor was unable to open the double doors. He was merely fixed on the idea that Gregor should get back into his room as quickly as possible.
As the father watched Gregor desperately trying to push himself back into his room, he became more impatient and the hissing became louder and louder in an attempt to drive Gregor all the more harder back into his room despite his current paralysis. With the little strength that Gregor had, he pushed harder into his room but then one side of his body lifted itself making him lay at an angle in the doorway. One flank of Gregor’s body was scrapped on the white door causing him to get painfully injured. His scrap left vile brown flecks on the door and soon he was stuck fast and was not able to move at all by himself; his little legs along one side hung quivering in the air while those on the other side were pressed painfully against the ground. The father could not accept Gregor’s off putting nature of being an insect and the flecks on the door made him more appalled of the situation. “This is so horrendous, I can’t take this anymore,” thought the father, so he gave a hefty shove behind Gregor and released him from where he was held. This sent Gregor flying, while heavily bleeding, deep into his room. “And good riddance to you,” thought the father as he slammed shut the door with his stick, and finally, all was quiet.
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 (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. Readers are not able to hear the thoughts of Gregor’s father, mother, and the chief clerk. Readers are also 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 did not give the readers access to each character’s mind. Therefore, by retelling the story from a third-person limited narrator to a third-person omniscient narrator (heterodiegetic narrator), readers are able to see how Gregor’s mother, father, and the chief clerk had underlying fears that they were battling with 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. So, in these scenes, Mrs. Samsa shows that she feared Gregor’s well-being and if Gregor was every going to return to his normal 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 was the vermin (Gregor) going to take care of him?” He did not think, 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 readers were 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.” So, when readers read this scene from the rewrite, they were shown 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. So, in these scenes, the father lived in fear of what was going happen to him in the future. He did not think about how Gregor supported the family but was angry at Gregor’s transformation.
With the chief clerk, readers were 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 readers to get to know the chief clerk personally by reminiscing on the things that he dreaded as a child, which were insects. 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 omniscient narrator, the limited narrator in, The Metamorphosis, 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). So, in theses scenes, the fear of insects that the chief clerk was battling with in his youth had continued on into his adult life and it emotionally scarred him to believe every insect was “hideous” in nature.
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 he was going to return to his normal body. As for the chief clerk, he had a fear of insects from his childhood, so he was depicted as a fearful person that 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”. He feared about the future rather than think about the well-being of his son or a solution to cure his condition. The omniscient narrator showed readers that the other characters had their own battle with fear, whether it was financially, physically, or mentally, and that Gregor’s situation added fuel to their already underlying flame of fear.