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The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis


by Franz Kafka

Gregor Samsa Timeline and Summary

  • Gregor wakes up to discover that he's a "vermin." He becomes aware of his new body's features, including a huge shell and numerous little legs.
  • Gregor realizes that he's slept past the alarm and missed his train.
  • Gregor's mother knocks on his door and asks if he's okay. In responding to his mother, Gregor realizes his voice is no longer recognizably human. Both his father and his sister also check in on him.
  • Gregor tries to get out of bed, but can't figure out how to maneuver his new body.
  • Gregor hears the doorbell ring – it's his boss, the office manager. He freaks out and clunks out of bed.
  • The office manager berates Gregor and demands that he open the door. Gregor defends himself, and manages to crawl over to the door.
  • As the office manager and Gregor's family express dismay at Gregor's incomprehensible words, Gregor manages to open the door and reveal to everyone his new, verminous form. Everyone is shocked.
  • Gregor tries to comfort his mother. His mother faints.
  • Gregor tries to catch up to the manager, but, before he can do so, he is chased back into his room by his father.
  • After his first foray outside his room, Gregor falls into a deep sleep.
  • When Gregor awakes, he begins to scuttle around his room in order to avoid thinking about the ramifications of his new body.
  • Gregor is fed twice a day by his sister. He discovers that he has a new taste for rotten foods.
  • About a month passes in this way, but Gregor remains isolated from the rest of the family. His sister is the only one who comes into his room, and she can't bear the sight or smell of him.
  • Gregor's sister and his mother decide to clear the furniture out of Gregor's room to give him space to crawl. But Gregor is convinced by his mother's argument that, if they move the furniture out, he will lose all sense of his humanity. He clings to a picture on the wall in an attempt to let them know that he doesn't want them to empty his room.
  • Gregor's mother sees Gregor and faints. Gregor's sister tries to get her mother some medicine from the living room, and Gregor follows her. Gregor's sister flees back into Gregor's room in terror and leaves Gregor out in the living room.
  • Gregor's father returns and sees Gregor in the living room. Gregor's father chases Gregor around the living room and throws apples at him. One apple lodges in Gregor's back, and the pain paralyzes him.
  • Gregor is saved by his mother, who runs out of his room and begs Gregor's father to spare Gregor.
  • It takes a month for Gregor to heal from his wound.
  • Gregor is now permitted to watch the family from a slightly open door.
  • Gregor witnesses his family's exhaustion. He also witnesses a scene where his sister yells at his mother for cleaning his room.
  • Gregor is accosted by the new help, a brusque cleaning woman who calls him a "dung beetle" (3.8). He tries to intimidate her, but she scares him back with a chair.
  • Gregor's room is now filled with the house's junk – spare furniture and trash. He moves around the furniture to amuse himself, but then gets tired and depressed. He barely eats anything at this point.
  • Gregor watches the three boarders eat their dinner and envies them.
  • Gregor hears his sister play the violin. He creeps out into the living room in order to ask her to play for him in his own room, but the middle boarder catches him in the act.
  • Exhausted, Gregor lies still on the living room floor. The boarders having been chased back into their room, Gregor hears the family discuss how to get rid of him.
  • Wearily, Gregor trundles back into his room. He hears his sister lock the door behind him. For a few hours, he thinks fondly of his family and wishes he could disappear. At three in the morning, Gregor dies.