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After Gregor's metamorphosis, the only character that shows emotional distress is Grete as 'in the room on the left there (i)s an embarrassing silence; in the room on the right his sister - Grete - beg(ins) to sob.' On the other hand the father becomes impatient when he begins to ask Gregor "So can the manager come in now"? Grete and Mr Samsa clearly have very different relationships with Gregor since during the first indication of a problem with Gregor Mr Samsa 'call(s) again in a deeper warning voice, "Gregor! Gregor!"' and in contrast 'his sister - Grete - moan(s) gently "Gregor? Is something the matter with you? Do you want anything? Kafka makes Grete ask the questions to show her caring attitude towards Gregor whereas Mr Samas's lines are formulated like orders. This indicates that out of all the Samsa family, Grete, initially, has a close relationship with Gregor.
The idea that Grete and Gregor have a strong relationship is further seen by the fact that Grete is the only character that brings food to Gregor. On entering his room and seeing Gregor's appearance she 'bec(omes) so frighten that she los(es) control of herself and slam(s) the door shut'. In regret of her behaviour 'she immediately open(s) the door', which suggests that she tells herself that the vermin is still her brother and is able to pull her self together to continue doing what she intended to do. Mrs. Samsa's cry 'Help, for God's sake, help!' shows that the immediate shock distresses her. Mr Samsa also shows distress as he hisses like a 'wild man' and 'brandish(es) the cane and the newspaper to drive Gregor back into his room'. Grete's calm and rational behaviour is very different to the initial reactions of Mr and Mrs Samsa when they see their son as a vermin.
In So Long a Letter the initial relationship between Ramatoulaye and Modou seems very lustful and Ramatoulaye appears deeply in love with him as she recites her thoughts about Modou, after his death, to Aissatou - 'Modou Fall, the very moment you bowed before me, asking me to dance, I knew you were the one I was waiting for.' The sixth chapter is written as if Ramatoulaye is writing to Modou, not Aissatou because Ramatoulaye writes 'you' in regards to Modou. The change of the letters target and the appraisal of Modou's 'subtle intelligence' in the chapter also show how deeply in love Ramatoulaye was with Modou.
The change in relationships occur due to Modou's 'abandonment of his first family', which causes Ramatoulaye to feel as if he his taking on a 'new life' 'without taking (their) existence into account.' Unlike what would be expected of a widow, when Ramatoulaye expresses her sentiment about her marital status as a widow she considers 'inner confusion led Mudou Fall to marry Binetou' and that the cause is 'human destiny' and 'fate'. But despite all this rational thinking, she still feels 'waves of immense sadness' inside her and feels 'abandoned', not 'divorced' which is due to Modou's change in lover. Ramatoulaye's feeling of abandonment causes her to move on her with her life and focus on her children.
Whilst Mrs Samsa and Grete '(a)re clearing out his room' Gregor feels the effects of his estrangement from the family as he feels that they are 'depriving him of everything that he lov(es).' At this point even Gregor feels that 'he would rather fly in Grete's face' than let her take away his precious painting. Grete's caring sentiment towards Gregor begins to break down when 'he - Gregor - br(akes) out' from underneath the couch in his room and appears blatantly in front of Mrs Samsa. Following Mrs Samsa's reaction to seeing Gregor, Grete cries '"you, Gregor!" with raised fist and piercing eyes'. 'These (a)re the first words she addresse(s) directly at him since his Metamorphosis' and this is also the first time that we see anger in Grete. After this incident, Grete carelessly '(shoves) any old food into Gregor's room with her foot' instead of entering the room and having to look at Gregor. This contrasts her previous actions towards Gregor's situation and is evidence of a negative change in relationship.
When describing her situation as a widow to Aissatou, Ramatoulaye repeats the words 'I survived'. This positive thinking is a key aspect of Ramatoulaye's attitude to life in general. She survives psychologically from the abandonment by her husband and also his death. She survives raising 12 children on her own. Being on her own, she takes complete control of her children's parenting which in turn causes her to develop a close bond with her children. Ramatoulaye cherishes her children and as any mother would she 'sheds tears of joy and sadness together: joy in being loved by (her) children'. A good example of this close mother-offspring relationship is between Ramatoulaye and her daughter Aissatou. This bond that the two have is clearly apparent when Aissatou tells Ramatoulaye of her pregnancy. Ramatoulaye's 'teeth gnash in anger', which shows that she is angry, but she realises that 'her (Aissatou's) life and future are at stake'. Ramatoulaye's anger and frustration becomes happiness as she remembers 'the tender and consoling attitude of (her) daughter' during her own personal times of distress due to her husband's death. Mariama Ba uses this close relationship to show that as society becomes more modern, parenting methods need to change as well.
The termination of Gregor's relations with his family occurs when Grete suggests the idea to her parents that they 'have to get rid of it'. It, being Gregor who she does not even 'pronounce the name' of. Grete feels that the family has 'done everything humanly possible to take care of it and to put up with it' and that it is time to remove Gregor from their lives. Frustrated, Grete's last word to Gregor just before he dies is '"Finally!"'. Her frustration and relief of not having to see Gregor anymore summarises the feelings of the Samsa family when he dies and is no longer an irritation to them. Mr and Mrs Samsa now turn their love to their only offspring, Grete who they feel will be the centre point of their 'new dreams and good intentions' for the family's future without Gregor. The once cordial relationships between Gregor and his family are cut off. Franz Kafka uses the family's hostility and exclusion towards Gregor to show that regardless whom you are inside, your external appearance is the means by which people judge you.
In both The Metamorphosis and So Long a Letter the relationships between characters change during the course of the books due to estrangement. Estrangement is brought on by a circumstantial change. It is either brought upon by the character on them selves or enforced by another character. The effects of estrangement in the books are that the strong sibling relationship between Gregor and Grete is destroyed, whilst mother offspring relationships are strengthened between Ramatoulaye and her children. It is fascinating to see how a mother can have such strong bonds with her children, such as Ramatoulaye and her daughter Aissatou. Aissatou may have become pregnant, but Ramatoulaye is such a rational thinker that she accepts this fact and supports her daughter unlike other parents who may have reproved their child's secretive actions. On the contrary to the strengthening of relationships is Grete and Gregor's separation. The whole Samsa family choose to rule out Gregor due to only one non-understandable change; his metamorphosis. Throughout the book, it seems that the rest of the Samsa family do not rationally question why Gregor has become a vermin and this may be because in reality they do not feel any affection towards him. Franz Kafka explores how family members might not take your side in all circumstances. Marama Ba uses Mudou's estrangement as a tool to show her views on single parenting.