The traveling salesman, turned into a gigantic bug. He did not only was transformed into a vermin he was also suffering ailments unknown to him and seems to be difficult to diagnose and understand. His transformation was a metamorphosis gone very badly. His voice, his face, his upper and lower body all was changed into something horrible.
Of course there is no human bug and of course Kafka wrote fiction. But it can also be understood that the author was using metaphor to communicate a ton of truth. In a creative way Kafka wanted the world to know how it feels to be disabled.
The author creatively brings the reader to a place of teaching. But instead of lecturing the students he created a way to communicate the two ways of how a person can be invalid. The first one, by virtue of common sense, everybody knows that the usual cause of disability is through an accident. An unfortunate even that ruins lives like being hit by a car driven by a person who suffered a stroke. It can also come by way of natural calamities such as earthquakes, typhoons etc. But according to Kafka's book - without saying it aloud - there is another sure way of becoming an invalid. And that is through self-infliction brought about the many negative experiences that plagued the mind. It is self-inflicted because the world around the person is too much to bear. In the book, Gregor Samsa was wasting away on a job that he hates. For reasons that will be made clear at the end, the metamorphosis of Gregor from a super reliable, hardworking, tough as nails person to a hated, ridiculed and much ostracized vermin was for a purpose. Yet at the moment, the life that he knew too well is gone.
When a person becomes disable it does not really matter how he had arrived at that stage what occupies the patient's mind is how he could get his life back. And that is when the ordeal will start, day one in hell on earth.
The first stage is the struggle to accept that life will never be the same again. To those who lost the use of hand, limbs, and senses has to admit that the only thing to do is to move forward. There is a need to realize that it is useless to force the body to do things the way it used to and it is very important to that it is better to function than to die a slow agonizing death.
Al Siebert a doctor of psychology has this to say about moving on and beating the odds and the two typical reactions of invalids:
Some people feel victimized and blame others for their plight. Some shut down. They feel helpless and overwhelmed. Some get angry. They lash out and try to hurt anyone they can. A few, however, reach within themselves and find ways to cope with adversity. They eventually make things turn out well.1
The second thing that strikes the invalid's heart is the sudden and unexpected rejection of the people close to him. The rejection may not be verbalized but it could be felt and understood just as easily as well. The people close to the victims may feel a tinge of remorse because of the way they reacted to the disability of a loved one but still strong negative feelings show.
Kathleen McGowan as quoted in Psychology Today's website said that, "In the privacy of our own heads, we cringe with dread when we meet someone in a wheelchair, wish our aged relatives would hurry up and die"2 Awful thoughts indeed but still it is the reality