After the metamorphosis, Gregor can no longer support his family financially, which used to be his main focus in life and a source of pride. Gregor's father
and sister Grete
must return to work, and the father gets a job as a banker's assistant, which requires a sharp-looking uniform
. At first, Gregor's father looks youthful and trim in the uniform, but then the uniform begins to look decrepit and overused, and the father never takes it off, demonstrating both his age and exhaustion, and hinting at the lazy life he used to lead when Gregor provided for the family. The uniform is a complex symbol. It demonstrates how Gregor is less essential to his family than he'd thought, and links to the story's end, when Grete, the father and mother go on a pleasant outing, already moving past the tragedy of Gregor's death. The uniform also demonstrates how, with passing time, attitudes change. Nothing holds steady in this world—neither the family's affection for Gregor, nor Gregor's father's newfound productiveness and vitality.