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The book begins with Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, waking one day to find himself transformed. This theme would recur in many furry transformation stories where the transformation would typically occur while the subject was asleep. It is unclear as to exactly what Samsa transformed into because of the translation, but the popular notion is that he transformed into some sort of cockroach or beetle, although it is never revealed what the cause of the change is. Instead of focusing on his physical change, he instead complains about the weather. Being a traveling salesman, inclement weather would likely ruin his day. The true reality of his metamorphosis is complete when he sees his many legs waving in the air. However, he continues to resist any conscious recognition regarding his change or the fact that a change indeed happened. He just knows now that he is different from the others now and recognizes the separation from everyone else by his incoherent speech. He is unable to speak in his insect form, and never successfully communicates with his family at all after his physical appearance is revealed to them. He is alienated by being suffered the usage of a voice of some other thing. However, he seems to retain his cognitive faculties, which are unknown to his family. His family, in turn, are unsurprised by this turn of events and view it as just another burden on them and so despise him. Horrified by his appearance, they shut Gregor into his room, but still care for him when they can. Time passes and Gregor changes further into an actual insect, his family distancing himself further and further as his condition worsens. Devoid of human contact, one day Gregor emerges to the sound of his sister's violin with the hope of getting his much-loved sister to join him in his room and play her violin for him. But her rejection of him is total when she says to the family:
|"We must try to get rid of it. We've done everything humanly possible to take care of it and to put up with it, no one can blame us in the least."|
The sister then determines with finality that the insect is no longer Gregor, since Gregor would have left them out of love and taken their burden away. Gregor returns to his room, lies down, and dies.
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