The Metamorphosis


Franz Kafka

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Father's Uniform Symbol Icon
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, mother 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.
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Father's Uniform Symbol Timeline in The Metamorphosis

The timeline below shows where the symbol Father's Uniform appears in The Metamorphosis. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 2
Family Theme Icon
Intentions vs. Outcomes Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon
...younger than before he took his new job, and is well-dressed in his bank attendant's uniform. Gregor's father seems to want to stomp on Gregor, and Gregor flees from him, though... (full context)
Section 3
Mind vs. Body Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Sympathy, Dependence, Responsibility Theme Icon underwear manufacturer. Gregor's father is constantly exhausted, won't even remove his increasingly dirty work uniform, and complains about his life. Gregor learns that the family has been selling off jewels... (full context)