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Kafka Discussion Circle > Kafka vs Gender Roles?

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message 1: by Ms. R (last edited Feb 09, 2009 07:27PM) (new)

Ms. R | 58 comments Mod
Yes, we're going there once again...dum dum duuuuum: Gender roles.

In a well formulated paragraph please answer the following question. You must cite one quote from the story as well as present a well though out analysis of said quote. Your quote must also be cited using MLA format.

Considering our past conversations concerning typical gender roles. Focusing specifically on this week's reading, consider how the women are portrayed. Consider why Kafka characterize these characters in this fashion? Now push your amazing ideas a bit further and consider the connection between these roles and the symbol of the bug. Can we tie these ideas to the ideals of the Modernists? Kafka's historical background?

There's a lot to work with here. I'm looking forward to an outstanding conversation!

Happy Blogging,

Ms. R


message 2: by Devin (last edited Feb 10, 2009 09:46AM) (new)

Devin | 7 comments In the story the women are protrayed as inferior, not having a voice. Reading we understand that the women are present but the men in the story refuse to give that idea. Nothing they seem to say or do matters to anyone but them. This is shown when Gregors mother states "he is not well...how else could he have missed the train" (Kafka 16). The mother here is going on and on trying to explain to the manager and Gregor's father that there is a reason why Gregor had'nt left yet but they refused to even listen to her. The entire time Gregors mother was speaking there wasn't a response or acknowlegement of her even speaking. This is because Kafka is portraying the women as unimportant without a voice. They are inferior to the men in this story. This ties back to modernism because in some way Kafka is portraying something similar to mordern society. Women in our society are sometimes looked down upon when thet try to accomplish certain things thats not expected of them. I believe that the way Kafka is portraying the women early on in the story is going to be of unique significance i think the women are somehow going to play a huge role later on in the story and we already see that happening with Gregor's sister.


message 3: by Ana (new)

Ana | 7 comments I believe that kafka made us believe that women are indeed less than men. Gregors father especially emphazises that by acting as the man of the house. The father also wants to be the leader of the house, sending gregor off to work, him using his sons money to pay the house bills and the maid. The father is the one in charge! In this story the mother does, i believe, her mother role. She shows love to her son and shows that she cares for him even though he is a bug. In the story while the sister wanted to arrange gregors room because he needed more space to crawl in, the sister needed help to move the drawer. By this time it was past a month gregor had been a bug and she still had not seen him because the husband and daughter did not allow it. Just when she needed help to move the drawer she allowed the mother in. And gregor was so excited as well as the mother. He even said that he needed some mother love. From his father there had been nothing given to him yet, and there i believe that the dad is just trying to be strong and act tough!


message 4: by Joe (new)

Joe | 7 comments While reading "The Metamorphosis" I didn't get a sense that Kafka makes women seem less than men,but rather a sense that Kafka puts men in a dominant role. We see this when Gregor has the duty of taking care of the debt for his family. Even though the father is not fulfilling his role as leader of the family,we still see Gregor going to work and providing for his family. We see this when Gregor's mother says,"Gregor...it's six forty-five. Didn't you intend to make a trip?"(Kafka 13). Gregor's mother immediately jumps on Gregor about not waking up and going to work,because he is the breadwinner for the family,and they survive off his earnings. I believe that Kafka just feels that men should take care of the family and not women,also the way the father is portrayed as not being responsible for his family,we see how Kafka puts the spotlight on Gregor's father for not fulfilling his duties. Even through this we still see that Gregor's father is ultimately in charge of the family, by the way he way he commands Gregor to go to work.


message 5: by Joshua (last edited Feb 10, 2009 07:20PM) (new)

Joshua | 12 comments I personally feel Kafka was confused about women. In one part of the story he protrayed women as being strong "Grete had put her arms around her mother and was almost carrying her...eyes met those of Gregor on the wall...although trembling and without thinking should we go back into the parlor? Greta intentions in the story was clear to Gregor, she wanted to lead her mother to safety and then chase the him off the wall" (Kafka 35). In this aspect Kafka protrayed Greta as being strong, willing to stand up against Gregor to protect her mother. Yet he also protrayed women as being weak, unable to defend themselves when Greta thought she rather "sacrifice her mother than remain in Gregor's vicinity" (Kafka 48). With these statement it seems as if Kafka felt women are unsure of themselves, in one instinct they are ready to protect someone they love yet at the twinkle of the eye they are ready to sacriice the same person. The lack of recognizable plot, the incohererence of character all proved that Kafka was a Modernist. I believe by Kafka not knowing or admiting what race he was proved he had a feeling of ideological uncertainty about himself. Yet, on the other hand "Women are a mystery to men, truely they are." (Joshua"s Quote)


message 6: by Beah (new)

Beah | 11 comments In the story "Metamorphosis" woman are protrayed as being weak. The story is making them seem like if the woman can't keep themselves together and always tend to fall apart. "she wanted to lead her mother to safety and then chase him down off the wall." Grete is trying to say that the mother is really scared of how Gregor looks like. Almost really afraid of how his apperenace might look. The sister in the case is trying to help the mother out. This makes the daughter seem like the adult because she has delt with Gregor before and isn't afraid of him anymore. Kafka seems confused of how to protray women. He is making his mother seem weak but in the other case he is making his sister seem strong.


message 7: by Yesenia01 (new)

Yesenia01 | 3 comments I think that Kafka makes the women sound and look like they are just there.He probably had the type of family where the mother would just stay home and the father is in charge. Even though its kind of odd because if the father is supposed to take care of the family, Then why is the father just staying home and not working? He has Gregor working himself off to pay the families debts, but the does not do anything to help out the family but take Gregor's money.


message 8: by David (new)

David Coria | 4 comments i think kafka portrays women in the story as a symbol of weakness because they mostly don't say anything but they are very supportive towards gregor. Gregor's father controls most of the financial situation and he doesn't listen to the mother. gregor's father is mean and like the man of the house. even though gregor's father doesn't pay the bills he still controls gregor. the women really dont say anything and just follow the fathers orders. women are portrayed as inferior to women in this story. gregors mother states "gretas intentions in the story were to help his mother and chase him of the wall (kafka 35)this shows that women are inferior to the men in the house because greta had to protect the mother from gregor. i think we can tie these ideas to kafkas background because in the old days women were inferior to men and they really couldnt defend themselves.


message 9: by Marekjavorek (new)

Marekjavorek | 16 comments Kafka sees women as a symbol of weakness. Kafka thinks that they have no power over anything. As we are reading the story Metamorphosis we see the fact that women play a major role in the story. Kafka gives all of the power to the man of the house. Gregor father , the mother is really powerless we can see this “no matter how humbly he turned his head his father only stamped his feet harder “( Kafka 23).This shows that the father is in charge and that Gregor has no say. If the man is doing this then Kafka wants the women to have no power / opinion in this story. The mother can’t even see Gregor because the father forbids the mother from seeing him and he mother listens to him and assumes that whatever the man says is correct and right for her. The relationship between Gregor and the sister is getting pretty interesting also. She cares for him but also she is the one that wants his money so she can go to violin school. So again poor Gregor has to make the money as the Man in the family He is expected to be the provider for the family. This thought is pretty unique and very unusual. These days all people work, just like the modernists would of like to. Everyone is just trying to survive. The gender roles are visible in the modern world. Like the women are expected to look beautiful everyday and the men are expected to be the main support beam of the family.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Martinez | 4 comments Kafka portrays women as being weak. The women are there but they don't have a voice. "So, for example, during two or three evenings..." (Kafka 16). The mother goes on how Gregor isn't well and that's the reason he missed work. She even goes on to tell him the things Gregor can do, but the chief completely ignores her, as if she wasn't even present. The women in the book are hardly noticed by the father. They take care of Gregor, and he takes no part in it. Gregor's transformation into a bug is as if they took away his part in the family as a man. He is now looked upon as a woman. His father completely ignores him as the way he does the mother and the sister. Gregor had an income before, he had the place of a man in the family, now that he doesn't he can no longer hold that place. He is pushed back as a woman, someone who stays home, someone who doesn't support a family.


message 11: by William (new)

William | 5 comments In Metamorphosis Kafka portrays women to be obviously weakier mentally and physically." Gregor now heard how the two weak women moved the old wardrobe...."(Kafka 33). This statment reflects how Kafka might of felt how women were physically the weakier species."After about a quater-hour's work the mother saidit would be better to leave the wardrobe where it was,because, for one thing, it was too heavy,...."(Kafka 33). This statment show how the mother was mentally weak and she had ambitions of giving up on the job.All through this short story Kafka portrays the women to be the one's that stay around and handle the cooking and cleaning up for Gregor while the father goes out to handle everything.When Gregor is transformed into a bug and he losses his ability to handle his responsiblities as a man so in this case you can say becomes a women. He can't support them anymore so his father doesn't pay him any mind anymore and in the reading you can start to see how he doesn't respect Gregor anymore.


message 12: by Tonysmith12 (new)

Tonysmith12 | 9 comments I think Kafka just portray the women which is very kind, his mother and his sister. His sister give him food when he became a big bug, she take care of him as a long time. And his mother she is a good mother, although she was very afraid when Gregor became a bug, but she miss him a lot, “let me in to Gregor; after all, he is my poor son! Don’t you understand I must go to him?”(Kafka 32). She wants to see Gregor pretty much. They also think a lot about Gregor, they think about if Gregor hungry if he want more space and something like that. “She got the nation of enabling Gregor to crawl around as freely as possible, by removing the furniture that prevented this, especially the wardrobe and the desk.”(Kafka 33). I think the goal Kafka makes these two kind women until now is because he wants to make the difference between now and few month later, they will become very cool to Gregor, and they think Gregor is no more useful to them. That is also the goals of the modernism.


message 13: by Mahalia (new)

Mahalia (hayae) | 2 comments What I love so much about metamorphsis is how much it reflects relity. The women in this story are but little voices that have no power or say. Female characters are potrayed as being very emotional and doing all the domestic work, while the men voices are loud and deamanding. The men decide where the money goes, who spends it and who deserves the fruits of it first. One quote that catch my eye was " Gregor sister had to join their mother in doing the cooking...practically ate nothing(kafka26). They automatically knew that they had to cook, the mother and father didn't have a discussion on who will cook today it was already predetermine due to the society they lived in. The male characters are strong they move with force and power. When Gregore had finally been seen by his family the mother went it to complete shocked collapsing and falling in to her husbands arms. While he stand their with a firm look on his face.I believe Kafka wanted this to reveal the life style of women in his time period, it also makes me think back to when we had a discussion on Kafka background. He was very close to the women in his life they cared for him even though he was alleinated from the world. In metamorphsis all the men are blaming Gregor for his transformation while the women run to his side for help."Let me in to Gregor after all he is my poor son"!(kafka 32) She wants to be at his side so badly. This is a true modernist quote.


message 14: by Dishon (last edited Feb 13, 2009 07:23AM) (new)

Dishon | 8 comments William wrote: "In Metamorphosis Kafka portrays women to be obviously weakier mentally and physically." Gregor now heard how the two weak women moved the old wardrobe...."(Kafka 33). This statment reflects how Kaf..."

I agree with william and his quote "Gregor now hears how the two weak women moved the old wardrobe...."(Kafka 33). The women in this story was always weak, towars the beginning Kafka showed how they was weak mentally by the mother speaking and it's like she's really not saying a word, and now how the mother and the sister is weak physically by not being able to move Gregor's wardrobe in time before the father comes back home. This is confusing to me, because in Kafka's life mainly the women really and actually took care of Gregor and not really the men in his family, so i would think that Kafka would put them in a more dominant role to make it seem like they are important in the story, but instead Kafka made them look like nothing so far. Well, only Grete is playing a big role by helping Gregor when he really needs it, but i thought that they should be dominant more in the beginning instead being looked down apon.



message 15: by Quitnin (new)

Quitnin | 7 comments Kafka shows that women mean nothing in his form of changed, but they do have say so. In Metamorphisis Gregor sister is very helpful were as the mother attempts to act clueless." I think it would be best if we tried to keep the room in exactly the same condition as before so that when Gregor comes back to us agian, he'll find everything unchanged and it will be easier for him to forget what happened in between"(Kafka 33).If the sister didn't speak up about the room does the family changed it still? What exactly do they want Gregor to remember? The mother and the sister or the females of the story do nothing but cook, the father handles all the family finacies.I agree with william and his quote "Gregor now hears how the two weak women moved the old wardrobe...."(Kafka 33). The woman are not strong at all and the father talks to them any way he wants which probaly lowers there self-esteem.


message 16: by Keshona (new)

Keshona Lewis | 6 comments In the story Metamorphisis, Kafka seems to make a negative impact on males. Such as how "supposely" the man of the house is run his family and pay bills. It seems to me that Gregor father is doing whta he has to do to take leadership of his household. "In the first two weeks his parents couldnt muster the courage to come into his room, and he often heard them expressing complete satisfaction with the work his sister was now doing"...... "But often now, both of them, the father and the mother, waited in front of Gregor's room while his sister was cleaning up in there" (Kafka 32). This shows me that the father was not physically nor was he mentally strong enough to go into his son room to see how he was doing. How does this make him the king of his household? Are these male character traits? I think that in this book Metamorphisis, Kafka, was trying to depict males as the weaker ones n females as the strong ones.


message 17: by Wendy (new)

Wendy | 3 comments Kafka portrays that women are useless he sees them as an object. Even though they see them like that their voice does count their opinion counts in every step of the way.


message 18: by Michel (new)

Michel Lopez | 3 comments well this story is very weird because they come out with different roles. like gregor is like the father of the story n the parents r the kids. plus the sister is the one they say is like a clueless person in the story .


message 19: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 3 comments In the story Metamorphosis, Kafka portrays women to be more weaker than the men.


message 20: by Mark (new)

Mark | 5 comments I feel like Kafka is only trying to put men in a more dominant role, like joe stated. Men are suppose to be the head of the household, the provider, and the protecter. Women should be the strong support system and provider in certain ways. Even though the father isn't the provider he still runs the family. He make sure Gregor works and he make sure the family is in order. Gregor also took on the dominant role by becoming the provider. He knows how it is to be a man and make sacrafices for your family like most good men try to do. The strong support system could be seen through Gregors sister. She knows how to take care of Gregor and support him like most loving women would do.


message 21: by Valeria (new)

Valeria (val777) | 10 comments I feel like Kafka is stereotyping women as helpless without men."...by removing the furniture...she didnt dare to ask her father to help"(Kafka 33). Kafka is saying that Grete can't move the furniture on her own and she doesnt bother asking her father for help. So she asks her mother when her father is out "Gregor now heard the two weak women moved the old wardrobe..."(Kafka 33). This quote speaks for its self. Kafka obviously reveals his thoughts about women in this story. Based on when this story was written at the time women did not get much credit for what they could do. They were also not allowed to do much. If women were still not able to vote in the most free country yet imagine how belittle they were in other countries?


message 22: by Guadalupe (last edited Feb 13, 2009 12:53PM) (new)

Guadalupe L (leon_g) | 7 comments I agree with Ana. The women in the story are portrayed as being weak. "It was too heavy, they woudn't get through before the father arrived" (Kaftka 33). Kaftka describes the women being physically weak and mentally weak. They seem to struggle with the moving of the furniture, but at the same time, they both are very sensitive. But I always thought of Gregor and how he would feel AFTER the furniture is removed. He can now climb on the walls and live in this small room but still have that "happy forgetfulness"(Kaftka 32). Although the women weren't allowed to do many things, i feel like they did more than father. They tried to make Gregor feel comfortable in his own skin. That is a HUGE job to do.


message 23: by Joel (new)

Joel Martinez | 3 comments I agree with marekjavorek, that kafka is giving the dominant role to the male and the weaker role to the women. The quote that i got to show this is “no matter how humbly he turned his head his father only stamped his feet harder “( Kafka 23). This means that the father is the man of the house is his way or no way, as for the mother she is the weak one just like the other story we read in class with her husband dying n she felt free cause she was trapped in her house cause the husband was man in the house an she stayed in and didnt do anything. Story of a hour i think it was called not sure. but kafka puts the women as a weak character.


message 24: by Gustavo (new)

Gustavo | 11 comments I think that kafka is trying to show the reader that women are the weak one's and that the men are the strongest one's so like marek said is potraying women towarsd the story like in a qoute it says, "After about a quater-hour's work the mother said it would it be better to leave the wardrobe where it was,beacuse,for one thing,it was to heavy..."(kafka 33).So kafka is trying to say that one get tired easily and can't move heavy stuff so it's saying that women are weak and that women give up really easily and that a men should only do those kinds of jobs.


message 25: by Hectorr23 (new)

Hectorr23 | 7 comments I Agree and disagree with beatris i agree beacuse its true they are being portray as week. Showing that women should clean and just wait till the chosen one come along and marry the sister. i disagree also because in the story kafka actually shows that the sister is strong. Kafka wrote "she was unable to do this on her own she didnt dare to ask her father to help it took a very long time.... (Kafka 33). This actually shows that shes lifting heavy equipment the sister is moving desk furniture etc. that shows power and strenght because that what u need to move thing arounds and that a mans job so i think kafka show both side strong and week


message 26: by Margarito (new)

Margarito | 9 comments I think that kafka is trying to show in metamorphosis that women are portrayed as worthless. He is saying that either women don't have financial power and if they do then it's low and does not meet to men standards. That just for being women then your job is not as important as a mans job and that they don't deserve to get much money off of it. "Even in the course of the day the father already laid their entire financial situation and prospects before both the mother and the sister"(kafka 28). Here he is saying that he's controlling the finances. Even though women can work they wont get much money and does not meet to what a man would make. He is also trying to say that men are the ones that keep a house stable with the financial situation. This is how society has portrayed men and that's how every household should be where the men are supporting the house financially.


message 27: by Angelica (new)

Angelica | 6 comments Kafka talks about Gregor's sister and mother as being weak. Kafka writes, "Gregor now heard how the two weak women moved the old wardrobe, heavy as it was, from its place, and how the sister constantly undertook the greater part of the work, paying no heed to the warnings of the mother, who feared she would overexert herself" (Kafka 33). Kafka uses these words to realte them to the women in his time. Women didnt have a voice in society during the time kafka was alive. By Kafka describing Gregor's sister and mother as "weak", he takes their voice away. Kafka, as well, takes Gregor's voice away by converting him into a bug. The only person in the story that seems to have a saying in anything is Grogor's father. Gregor being the supporter of the family didn't really give him any power.


message 28: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 6 comments In the story "Metamorphosis" women are portrayed as somewhat strong. The women in the story seem to be the ones that are emotionally involved and not the father. To be able to live through Gregors transformation shows they have the will to go on. Kafka wrote "she was unable to do this on her own she didnt dare to ask her father to help it took a very long time.... (Kafka 33). Here, the sister knows she would be unable to move the object on her own and yet doesn't ask for any help. The sister is obviously able to hold her own and as you went on through the story you find out that the mother and sister were able to do something without a man. Thats when the father steps out of his role, by not doing a manly job. Then again that leaves you to question the reasoning behind them not asking him for help. To me the women there had no voice. That idea ties back to how women in society now didn't have a voice and were only thought to be as "house wifes". Kafka uses modernism to both our world and Gregor's together.


message 29: by Melina (new)

Melina Garcia | 5 comments Kafka makes the women less important than the men because the women do all the work in the house and they are rarely out in the streets.... in the book he had the women moving the furniture with no help of a guy... the men only works for the money for the family they wont let the ladies work only at the house like cooking, cleaning, etc.
well i would of site something but i kinda forgot my book at the locker...but without the ladies the men wont be anything just a big mess in the house...


message 30: by Jessica (new)

Jessica James | 6 comments I personally think Kafka is some what of a sexist. I made it seem like all women were good for was staying in the back round and not taking to much charge. It like Gregor's mother was some what helpful in the situations with his father but she could have been way more aggressive in her approach to keep his father from mistreating Gregor. Another reason I he is somewhat sexist is because he made the father way to Dominate! Its like he thinks its OK for the father to try to control everything. I think that's why he made Gregor as a son to have so much weight and responsibility cause if you think about it he will grow up making his son do the same thing he was taught as a child and the cycle will repeated. And its almost as if the sister was never really there. He made the story focus on the Males. Hey, who knows maybe that what he might have experienced in his child hood in his home country.


message 31: by Mayra (new)

Mayra | 7 comments As i read metamorphisis i noticed that there was alot of feminst. i dont think that his point of view was to make women feel lke there less, but in other words push them to work harder, and prove the book wrong. the view of women is usually that women do all the cleaning, take care of the house, and get married. through out the book thats what he explained thats what he showed, and his point for that i believe is to get women mad and prove it wrong.


message 32: by Yajaira (new)

Yajaira | 8 comments In "The Metamorphosis," Franz Kafka implies that men should dominate a household and they're supposed to provide for their families. When the family figuratively loses their source of income (Gregor) due to his transformation, the father immediately takes charge, "Even in the course of the first day the father already laid their entire financial situation and prospects before both the mother and the sister" (Kafka 28). This quote reveals that men are the only ones that can support a family. They are meant to be leaders and only they can do what's best for their dependants. Woman are only vital to household chores. Mr. and Mrs. Samsa believe in making a choice for their daughter, Grete, when at the end of the story they decide "it was now time to find a good husband for her"(Kafka 52). Grete's parents do not have high expectations for their daughter. They're just repeating the same standards in which the man matters, and not the woman.


message 33: by Vivian (new)

Vivian | 7 comments I agree w/ Joshua because Kafka describes Grete as being strong and having to take care of her family in any way she can. In the other hand the mom is represented as being weak and having no say in the family. I think Kafka was being some what of a sexist, because he was stereotyping the way a mother usually is; being dramatic about her child when something is wrong and her being a house wive. "Gregor now heard how the two weak women moved the old wardrobe....and how the sister constantly undertook the greater part of the work, paying no need to the warnings of the mother, who feared she would overexert herself" (Kafka 33). This quote shows how Grete is a stronger women than her mother. By this I mean that Kafka wasn't trying to show that all women are weak, but how mother's are usually hesitent.


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