Morphing Into a Feminist; Feminist aspects in Franz Kafka’s story
Although Franz Kafka’s reading are not known to be sexist, some of the characters in his book “The Metamorphosis” reflect the views of the time in 1917. The female characters of the book present the stereotypical view of women as weak caregivers whose only value to their family lies in their ability to marry wealthy men. There is evidence to prove these statements throughout, such as Gregor being the only means of income for his sister’s future, how he is the only one who works, and how he gets cast aside by his parents and sister when he cannot work.
During the beginning of the story, Gregor, the main character wakes up to find himself as a bug. He is the sole supporter of his family, so he worries about getting to work. Because he woke up late, the chief clerk and his family show up to see what is wrong. When his mother ...view middle of the document...
Grete is fairly nice to him at first because she still believes there is a chance that Gregor will get better. She feeds him rotten food, which he likes, and moves furniture for him. “The old chest of drawers was too heavy for a pair of feeble women to lift” (Kafka 12). This sentence blatantly refers to women being feeble and weak. Another big clue to how Grete truly feels about Gregor is how she acts toward him once it’s clear he will not get better. Grete begins to lose interest in Gregor and only does the bare necessities such as shoving some food in his room in the morning and never coming to visit him.“Gregor’s sister no longer thought about how she could please him, but would hurriedly push some food into his room with her foot before she rushed out to work in the morning and at midday, and in the evening she would sweep it away with the broom, indifferent as to whether it had been eaten or not.” (Kafka 17). After everything begins to calm down when Gregor dies, the family decides to find Grete a husband, presumably so they may feed off of him just like Gregor. “Just from each other's glance, almost without knowing it, they agreed to find a good man for her.” (Kafka 24). This supports the notion that the only thing women are good at, is finding wealthy men to support them.
Another common feminist “clue” in the story is how often the father, or manly figure takes control without asking any input from the women. “Tonight she gets sacked, said Mr. Samsa, but he received no reply from his wife or daughter as the charwoman seemed to have disrupted the peace” (Kafka 24). In the middle of the story while Gregor’s father is throwing apples at him, his sister rushes into the room and begs her father to stop throwing apples at Gregor, never daring to actually stop him herself.
So, although I do not believe that Franz Kafka wrote this story to be feminist, I do believe that, during that time period, society shared a very common view of feminism that worked its way into his story.