The Metamorphosis

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Father Character Analysis

Gregor's father is mistrustful and unsympathetic towards Gregor after the transformation, though his unkindness may stem from a desire to protect his family. The father's attack with apples causes an injury that bothers Gregor for the rest of his life. During the course of the story, the father undergoes several transformations. First, he returns to work, as an assistant to small clerks at a bank. At first the job seems to make him healthier and more energetic than his former state as a tired and lazy old man, but as time wears on and he refuses to take off his dirty uniform, he becomes even more exhausted and pathetic than before.

Father Quotes in The Metamorphosis

The The Metamorphosis quotes below are all either spoken by Father or refer to Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Schocken Books edition of The Metamorphosis published in 1995.
Section 2 Quotes

"What a quiet life our family has been leading," said Gregor to himself, and as he sat there motionless staring into the darkness he felt great pride in the fact that he had been able to provide such a life for his parents and sister in such a fine flat. But what if all the quiet, the comfort, the contentment were now to end in horror?

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa (speaker), Grete Samsa, Father, Mother
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

Gregor, listening from his room, has realized that his father is not reading to Grete as usual, and his thoughts turn to the great disruption that his transformation has surely made in his family's daily life – perhaps the first time that he fully realizes how significant a change has taken place. Still, he continues to focus on the pride and self-confidence that he feels as an independent young man whose family burdens rest on his shoulders. They have long depended on him to lead the family, financially and otherwise, and he has happily taken on this duty, enabling them to live in peace.

However, now he begins to recognize that such peace and quiet may not last forever. Indeed, he himself might be the cause of his family's greatest destruction, even though that is not at all his intention. Once again, the phrasing of this passage's last line suggests that consequences might unfold without anyone consciously desiring or promoting them – instead, events will simply take place on their own, following the logic of physical reality rather than complex mental desires.

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Section 3 Quotes

The serious injury done to Gregor, which disabled him for more than a month—the apple went on sticking in his body as a visible reminder, since no one ventured to remove it—seemed to have made even his father recollect that Gregor was a member of the family, despite his present unfortunate and repulsive shape, and ought not to be treated as an enemy, that, on the contrary, family duty required the suppression of disgust and the exercise of patience, nothing but patience.

Related Characters: Gregor Samsa, Father
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

In a moment of anger and fear, Gregor's father had thrown an apple at him – ceding to the sense, even if unconscious, that this insect was not really a member of their family but only a repulsive nuisance. Now, however, he and the other members of the family seem to have regained, if not clarity, at least a sense of responsibility and uncertain sympathy towards Gregor. They are all still confused regarding whether or not Gregor is "there," his mind trapped inside the cockroach, or if not, what precise relation exists between the Gregor that was once a part of their family and the new being that has replaced him.

Still, the family seems to accept that, even if they cannot understand what the insect is, the creature still belongs to them, and they must treat it accordingly. Once again, without any satisfying answers to guide their actions, the family falls back on customary codes of behavior rather than attempting to solve the mystery of Gregor's metamorphosis. 

And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and excellent intentions that at the end of their journey their daughter sprang to her feet first and stretched her young body.

Related Characters: Grete Samsa, Father, Mother
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:

Although much of the book has followed Gregor's point of view, The Metamorphosis ends not with Gregor's pitiful death but with the sense of freedom and possibility that the family embraces after he dies. As they travel into the countryside, the future seems to open up for them: no longer must they bear the terrible burden of their strange, transformed son.

While this passage paints a portrait of a happy family, we are meant to remember that this portrait depends on exclusion and suspicion more than it does on mutual respect and responsibility, seen most clearly in the way that Grete's lithe, young body contrasts sharply with the decaying, disgusting beetle that Gregor had become. At the same time, the book shows how both these physical realities end up affecting, if not determining, the possibilities for each of the siblings. Gregor's transformed body caused him to be eventually abandoned by his family. Grete's body leads her parents to see how she might be married off, and in being married off ensure financial security for the whole family. The parents continue to depend on (or, perhaps, exploit?) their children, relying on social norms and expectations to do so. 

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Father Character Timeline in The Metamorphosis

The timeline below shows where the character Father appears in The Metamorphosis. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 1
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...mother knocks to wake him, and Gregor thanks her in a strangely squeaky voice. Gregor's father begins to knock to ask what's wrong, and then his sister Grete asks him if... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...he should be given a break, especially in front of his family. Grete and Gregor's father tell Gregor that the clerk has arrived. Gregor hears his mother defending him to the... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Gregor finally gets the door open, shocking the Chief Clerk, his father and mother. His father weeps. Gregor stays halfway in his room, noticing the rainy weather,... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Gregor's father tries to force Gregor back into his bedroom with a cane and newspaper. Gregor has... (full context)
Section 2
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Gregor notices that his father isn't reading to Grete, though it is a nighttime tradition. Gregor is concerned, but he... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Grete covertly feeds Gregor again in the afternoon, when their father, mother, and the servant girl won't notice. Gregor isn't sure why his family didn't ever... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Gregor overhears his father explaining the family's financial position, which is fairly stable because of their thriftiness. Gregor ponders... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Gregor's mother and father don't enter with Grete but they are curious about him. After two months, Gregor's mother... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Gregor's father returns. Grete calls from Gregor's bedroom that Gregor has escaped, and Gregor's father responds that... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Gregor's father, however, is "not in the mood to perceive such fine distinctions," and excitedly yells at... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
As Gregor gets tired of running, Gregor's father begins to throw apples at him. One apple hits Gregor's back and gets embedded, causing... (full context)
Section 3
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...are now employed, Grete as a salesgirl and Gregor's mother at an underwear manufacturer. Gregor's father is constantly exhausted, won't even remove his increasingly dirty work uniform, and complains about his... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Gregor understands that the stresses on his family have made Grete, his mother and father less attentive to him. His family members spend all day working for other people. They... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...care with which his mother and Grete feed the lodgers, and the attention that his father lavishes upon them. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...lodgers ask her to come play for them in the living room. Gregor's mother and father awkwardly and formally come to watch as well. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
The lodgers notice Gregor and alert Gregor's father. At first, the lodgers are amused, but then they become concerned. Grete gives the violin... (full context)
Money Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
...not pay the family, and that he might sue. The other lodgers follow suit. Gregor's father and mother are extremely upset, and Gregor's mother drops the violin. Gregor stays still on... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...could. Grete says that "it," meaning Gregor, will cause her parents' deaths. She weeps. Gregor's father says that he wishes Gregor could understand them, because then they could maybe find a... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...calls to the family. Grete notes how thin Gregor had become. Grete, her mother and father go to the parents' room. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...but the charwoman shows them to Gregor's room. The Samsa family tearfully emerges, and the father orders the lodgers to leave. At first, the lodgers gear up for a fight, but... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Grete, her mother and father all write to their bosses to take work off for the day. The charwoman leaves,... (full context)
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
Grete, her mother and father leave the house and take the tram to the countryside. They talk optimistically about their... (full context)