Gregor’s relationship with his sister in the story The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka is laudable and admirable. Early on as Gregor transforms into an insect, Kafka portrays Grete, the sister as someone with a great capacity for help and heal. Maturity places a big factor here because she cushions the family members from the trauma that the family is suffering from as the author pens, “ “Certainly they did not want him to starve either, but perhaps they would not have been able to stand knowing any more about his meals than from hearsay, or perhaps his sister wanted to spare them even what was possibly only a minor torment, for really, they were suffering enough as it was” (25). Gregor is lucky because he has the support of his family, especially his sister who is resourceful and who searched for the benefits that the event may ensue as the narrator. This bond is extraordinarily unique because it talks about respect and protection of Gregor as the narrator stands, “ Of course his sister tried to ease the embarrassment of the whole situation as much as possible, and as time went on, she naturally managed it better and better” (29). The story is interspersed with contrasting symbols such that Gregor’s condition worsens while Grete looks full of life and remains dynamic.
However, towards the end, we see again a transformation in Grete as she undergoes changes. In the end, she states that they must get rid of Gregor referring him to being just a thing, “It has to go” (52). It is Gregor who maintains his love and affection for his family. He still thinks of them fondly even if he is locked in a room. Grete’s betrayal was something she chose and which was part of the metamorphosing that she was undergoing. It could not have happened any other way. It completed the parallelism that Kafka wanted to present. If Gregor metamorphose into oblivion, Grete blossoms “into a pretty girl with a good figure” (58). This contrasts with Gregor’s ugly figure.
As Gregor discovered his own silence, the quality of his moments with Grete and his family undergoes a change too. He heard the non-verbal language of everyone around him. He flowed with the situation. Grete’s ability to listen to her brother’s needs in the first part made her listen with more sensitivity. Listening is a more active process than hearing. It was essential for Grete to be in touch with him because she was the only family left that understood him and that gave him the opportunity to relate with her in his deepest feelings of being abandoned and lonely. Gregor’s feelings about his family’s feelings as well as his own helped him to really listen. He was able to tune in to what he was feeling so that he became aware of what in others may be triggering his feelings. Thus, on top of his condition, he did not go berserk and insane. But then, of course, Grete’s kindness helped him cope with his situation well.
Gregor remains consistent till the end. Only his physical attributes changes since within the limits set by his environment, he chose how to let the forces around him not affect him. He made efforts to hide himself so that his family will not despise him. Deliberately or by default, she was able to select the way he was wherever and however he appeared. He had complete control of himself even if he was that way. His sister gave him the opportunity to undergo that transition. In the end, he allows his sister to transform into her own self, giving back the care and understanding she first accorded him. It is an exchange of understanding in a world of alienation and isolation that makes the story so poignantly memorable.