At first glance, the final four pages of Franz Kafka’s novel The Metamorphosis seem to be meaningless. This assumption, however, is anything but the truth. The final four pages, although seeming to be of no importance, serve to show the reader how the Samsa family changes as a result of the main character’s, Gregor Samsa’s, death. The family’s changes are best exemplified in two different scenes: the scene at the kitchen table, and the scene on the trolley. During the scene at the kitchen table, there is a common change among the family members: their new willingness to do things independently.
Their bold act of writing “letters of excuse” is a clear example of their new independence. Prior to Gregor’s death, the family relied completely on Gregor’s financial support and had little in terms of responsibilities. Kafka explains this lack of work when he writes, “they [Gregor’s parents] had formed the conviction that Gregor was set for life in his firm . . . they were so preoccupied with their immediate troubles that they had lost all consideration for the future,”(17). By taking the initiative and writing to their employers,
Gregor’s family proves that they no longer depend on Gregor. The scene at the kitchen table proves revealing once again when Mr. Samsa announces that he will fire the cleaning lady (17). By doing so, Mr. Samsa demonstrates that he has changed and can take responsibility. Grete (Gregor’s sister) and Mrs. Samsa also show that they have changed by not contesting Mr. Samsa’s decision to fire the cleaning lady. In retrospect, firing the cleaning lady is an additional step towards change from the past. The second revealing scene is the scene on the trolley.
In this scene, Kafka reveals the family’s plans for the future, as well as the significant changes in Grete. He also emphasizes that leaving the apartment together is “something they [the family] had not done in months”(58). Demonstrating again their change to independence. Similarly, the family’s plan to buy a “smaller and cheaper apartment” (58) further proves that they have become independent. Kafka’s remarks pertaining to Grete reveal a different kind of change. During all of the turmoil involving Gregor, Grete matured both physically and mentally.
The thoughts that Grete provokes in the minds of her parents reveal their good intentions for the future. In conclusion, the last four pages of Kafka’s novel are a vital part of the story. The scene at the kitchen table and the scene on the trolley both play important roles in revealing the changes in the Samsa family. The change from being completely dependent on Gregor, and the mental and physical changes made by Grete. All of which were provoked by Gregor’s death. By the end of the novel, each member of the family is a different person.