by Franz Kafka
The Metamorphosis Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Stanley Corngold's translation.
[H]is father dozed, completely dressed, in his chair, as if he were always ready for duty and were waiting even here for the voice of his superior. (3.4)
With Gregor out of the picture, Mr. Samsa takes over as the breadwinner. Arguably, he is just as much a "tool" of his profession as Gregor was when he was a traveling salesman (see Quote #3). Even when Mr. Samsa is not at work, not even conscious, he is still his job – he's a bank messenger and nothing more.
But Gregor understood easily that it was not only consideration for him which prevented their moving…what mainly prevented the family from moving was their complete hopelessness and the thought that they had been struck by a misfortune as none of their relatives and acquaintances had ever been hit. What the world demands of poor people they did to the utmost of their ability […] but for anything more than this they did not have the strength. (3.6)
Just as Mr. Samsa has trouble getting out of bank messenger mode when he's at home (see Quote #7), the Samsas as a family have a hard time letting go of their class status. Accustomed to a middle class lifestyle, they are unable to adjust themselves to their new financial conditions.
This old widow, who thanks to her strong bony frame had probably survived the worst in a long life, was not really repelled by Gregor. (3.8)
Ironically, it's the old widow (i.e., the cleaning woman) who can stand Gregor, not the members of his family. How can a complete stranger be able to handle Gregor better than his own family? This passage suggests that she's experienced "the worst," and as Quote #8 above makes clear, the Samsas are unaccustomed to "the worst," to a catastrophe of Gregor's magnitude.