Most literary pieces have many quotations expressing universal themes. These quotes are often used during the ordinary conversation and specific writings, speeches, and addresses. Quotes or quotations do not lose their universality whatever the circumstances or times may be. Some of the best quotes from The Metamorphosis have been explained below. The quotes have been taken from Ian Johnston’s translation.
Quotes in The Metamorphosis
“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.”
This line opens the story told by an anonymous narrator. Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of The Metamorphosis, has suddenly found himself transformed into a bug. However, it is interesting to note that he still has consciousness of a human being despite having turned into a bug. He knows that he is a human being, but a changed just as he has dreamed. This line heralds the situation of a man having found himself in an unexpected and bizarre dilemma.
“It was very easy to throw aside the blanket. He needed only to push himself up a little, and it fell by itself. But to continue was difficult, particularly because he was so unusually wide. He needed arms and hands to push himself upright.”
These lines appear when Gregor Samsa hears his father knocking at the door. Unable to open it, as he has transformed into a bug, he responds to him with only ‘yes,’ but it doesn’t sound the same. Also, he cannot remove his blanket, move with ease or turn upside down as this is an entirely new experience for Gregor. These lines are significant as they show how a person can become entirely confused and crippled in a new situation.
“I am speaking here in the name of your parents and your employer, and I am requesting you in all seriousness for an immediate and clear explanation.”
When Gregor Samsa does not open the door after repeated efforts of his family members, his boss comes to fetch him. However, when Gregor does not respond, the Manager is enraged saying Gregor is creating problems for his parents and his workplace. He threatens him saying that he is serious about it, and wants an explanation for his unprofessional behavior of limiting himself to his room. It is very common for superiors to demand an explanation when a person doesn’t show up for work.
“Once during the long evening, one side door and then the other door was opened just a tiny crack and quickly closed again. Someone presumably needed to come in but had then thought better of it.”
Now that the family members have seen him transformed, they have found a way out to keep him locked in his room and give him appropriate food. His sister gives milk-soaked bread and milk in his room. Although other family members try to open the door, yet nobody comes in. These lines are significant as like Gregor when a person is dependent he/she loses their worth.
“There he remained the entire night, which he spent partly in a state of semi-sleep, out of which his hunger constantly woke him with a start, but partly in a state of worry and murky hopes, which all led to the conclusion that for the time being he would have to keep calm and with patience and the greatest consideration for his family tolerate the troubles which in his present condition he was now forced to cause them.”
When Gregor is locked in his room after his transformation, he has passed a day and a night. After this, he feels hungry, and his food choices have changed. He does not want human food. He tries to sleep, but hunger and worry for his family keep him awake. He blames himself as he is the source of those troubles.
“In his present situation, such futile ideas went through his head, while he pushed himself right up against the door and listened.”
Gregor has been listening to the conversation of the family members and understands the financial and general circumstances of the family. He wants to share his ideas with the family regarding Christmas Eve. However, in his present situation, he cannot do anything except listen. This quote expresses Gregors pain as he sees his family struggling to get by.
“As he heard his mother’s words Gregor realized that the lack of all immediate human contact, together with the monotonous life surrounded by the family over the course of these two months must have confused his understanding, because otherwise, he couldn’t explain to himself that he in all seriousness could’ve been so keen to have his room emptied.”
This sentence is the voice of the narrator who is stating that the family is thinking about the removal of furniture from Gregor’s room. However, his mother is against this. She still hopes that someday Gregor’s fortune may turn, and he may become a human being again. On the other hand, Gregor thinking that non-human contact and family problems must have confused him and that he is unable to understand their circumstances. In other words, he didn’t want the room to be changed.
“Gregor’s serious wound, from which he suﬀered for over a month (since no one ventured to remove the apple, it remained in his ﬂesh as a visible reminder), seemed by itself to have reminded the father that, in spite of his present unhappy and hateful appearance, Gregor was a member of the family, something one should not treat as an enemy, and that it was, on the contrary, a requirement of family duty to suppress one’s aversion and to endure—nothing else, just endure.”
The apple thrown by Gregor’s father is still stuck in Gregor’s back for more than a month, and no one has tried to help him. As it is clear that his presence and appearance is abominable to the whole family. Gregor is depressed and wishes that his family didn’t treat him like an enemy and tries his best to endure the pain.
“It even happened that various pieces of family jewelry, which previously the mother and sister had been overjoyed to wear on social and festive occasions, were sold, as Gregor found out in the evening from the general discussion of the prices they had fetched.”
The family has started discussing how to cope with the present financial crisis when Gregor has become a creature and unable to provide for the family. Gregor overhears that they have started selling jewelry of his sister and mother that they used to wear on social occasions. This news troubles Gregor even more.
“Growing more silent and almost unconsciously understanding each other in their glances, they thought that the time was now at hand to seek out a good honest man for her.”
At the end of the story, Gregor is dead, and his corpse is removed. Now that the family has started living on their own, Mr. and Mrs. Samsa observe that their daughter has become an adult. They exchange glances to communicate and believe they should find a suitable match for her. This line points out how life goes on despite the departure of a family member or a friend.