Stories of Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis - Chapter 3
Life in the Samsa house continues, despite the changes in everything. However, one thing does remain the same:
"Gregor's serious wound, from which he suffered for over a month - the apple remained imbedded in his flesh as a visible souvenir since no one dared to remove it - seemed to have reminded even his father that Gregor was a member of the family, in spite of his present pathetic and repulsive shape, who could not be treated as an enemy; that on the contrary, it was the commandment of family duty to swallow their disgust and endure him, endure him and nothing more." The Metamorphosis, Chapter 3, pg. 40
Gregor is lethargic, like a war veteran, unable to move quickly. His family is, as well. Mr. Samsa falls asleep for long periods of time in the evening, while Mrs. Samsa sews for her new job making clothing for a store. Grete has also gotten a job as a salesgirl, but continues to study at night in order to better her future. The family realizes that they cannot afford to continue living in their house, but simultaneously cannot conceive of transporting Gregor. Although he realizes it would take little more than a large box with a few air holes, the family cannot fathom leaving their home. "What the world demands of poor people they did to the utmost of their ability; his father brought breakfast for the minor officials at the bank, his mother sacrificed herself to the underwear of strangers, his sister ran back and forth behind the counter at the request of the customers; but for anything more than this they did not have the strength." The Metamorphosis, Chapter 3, pg. 42 The family leaves Gregor alone, regardless of their own activities. Gregor sleeps little, awake during both the days and nights, sometimes daydreaming of helping support his family once again. Those positive thoughts return to hurt and anger when he thinks of them leaving him alone, dirty, and helpless.
A cleaning woman comes to help the family out with the daily chores. Surprisingly, she is not frightened by Gregor's appearance and keeps his door cracked so that she may always peak at him. She calls him a 'dung beetle' and sometimes taunts him; but nonetheless, like the other members of the family, she does not ignore him completely. She cleans his room at her own desire, frustrating him into eating less. Gregor hardly eats anymore, only taking in the food he passes.
Gregor's room also becomes increasingly cluttered, as the family places all extraneous junk, trash, and bulk in his space to store. In order to supplement their income, the family takes on three borders, who bring with them their own goods and furniture. Again, Gregor's room becomes more cluttered. These three borders are men with long beards, all who expect cleanliness and perfect surroundings. When they eat - seated at the same table where the Samsa family used to dine - Grete and Anna hold their breath with desperation that the men like their meals. Meanwhile, Gregor cries that his hunger is severe, for he cannot eat properly without teeth. The family cares little, as they continue to eat in the kitchen.
After dinner, the three borders read their papers and smoke in relaxation in the living room. They are charmed by the music of a violin coming from inside the kitchen. Instead of asking the noise to stop, they request Grete and her violin to come into the living room. Mr. and Mrs. Samsa stand on either side of their daughter, beaming with pride, as her music lures the men and Gregor into a trance. Gregor, careless of his surroundings, comes out of the room - covered in dust and food - to the room to hear his sister play violin. The roomers have meanwhile become bored with Grete's playing, realizing it is far from the quality to which they are accustomed. After following Grete along with the music, they realize that her talent is scarce, and they retreat to the window to blow smoke. Gregor, mesmerized by his sister, continues to inch forward in the living room, hoping to express his non-animal state to his family. He wonders if an animal could be so moved by such beauty and music. He remembers his plans of sending Grete to the conservatory, as he had planned to announce at Christmas before his metamorphosis.
Suddenly, one of the borders raises his fingers to Gregor, gesturing his observance of the large bug in his presence. While initially, the roomers are entertained by Gregor's presence, they eventually become outraged, throwing a tantrum in the Samsa household expressing their rage at how close they have lived to Gregor. During the uprising, Grete gives her violin to Mrs. Samsa to hold delicately. Mrs. Samsa has difficulty breathing, grabbing her chest, as one of the borders gives his notice to Mr. Samsa of leaving the apartment. He claims he will not pay a single cent of money to the Samsas, and perhaps may even call the authorities and file claims against them. Soon enough, the other borders jump to his side and also announce their impending exodus.
As the family witnesses the drastic event that has just occurred in their house, Mr. Samsa collapses on the sofa, Mrs. Samsa, releases all the tension in her hands, allowing the violin to drop onto the floor with a loud clang. When they calm down, Grete speaks to her parents in regards to future action. "I won't pronounce the name of my brother in front of this monster, and so all I say is: we have to try and get rid of it. We've done everything humanly possible to take care of it and to put up with it; I don't think anyone can blame us in the least." The Metamorphosis, Chapter 3, pg. 51 Mr. Samsa quickly agrees with his daughter, in sadness, while Mrs. Samsa can only clutch her chest and cry. Grete cries that she cannot put up with the torture anymore, especially after working all day long so hard. Grete continues to plead with her parents that the creature has to leave. In her mind, it is no longer Gregor and is something that is torturing the family, forcing them to live in horror, take over the house, and is tainting her brother's memory. She genuinely believes that the creature is no longer her brother; she claims that if it were still Gregor, then, it would leave them alone in peace. Mrs. Samsa says nothing and lies outstretched in paralyzed emotional distress, while Mr. Samsa wonders what they should do. As he hears every word, Gregor decidedly against scaring his sister, begins to turn around to return to his room. Upon his first movement, she shrieks at his body, in fear of his possible violence. When he finally enters his room, he hopes his family will have more sympathy. Instead, Grete locks the door with anxiety and fervor, turns to her parents, and wonders what the next step will be.
Gregor hears every word from his sister's mouth. He feels weak. The rotten apple still encased in his back is infected and covered with dust and dirt. He remains awake until three in the morning, where he looks outside and sees light beginning to appear. In this moment, he lets air out of his nostrils one last time and dies. The following morning, the cleaning lady very loudly enters the house slamming doors (much to the chagrin of the Samsa family). She walks into Gregor's room, unfazed by his motionless appearance, thinking him asleep like usual. When she eventually taunts and prods him, she discovers his death and shrieks to her master that "it" has croaked and is dead. The family and borders rush to the room and witness Gregor's still body lying on the floor. Mr. Samsa immediately asks the borders to leave his house.
The Samsa family decides to take the day off from work to rest and think of Gregor. The three sit down and write letters to their respective employers about their predicament and loss, and ponder the future. The cleaning lady enters to claim that she has taken care of the mess in the next room, namely Gregor. After she leaves, they announce their plans to fire her that evening. Grete and her parents go for a walk into town, on the trolley, and in the beautiful clean air. They think of moving out of their house (chosen by Gregor) into a smaller and cheaper apartment. As the day draws to a close, Mr. and Mrs. Samsa realize that their beautiful daughter is now of a fruitful age in which she must find a husband. "Growing quieter and communicating almost unconsciously through glances, they thought that it would soon be time, too, to find her a good husband. And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions when at the end of the ride their daughter got up first and stretched her young body." The Metamorphosis, Chapter 3, pg. 58