The Germanized Jew in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

Olivia T. Kochuk


This paper examines the shift in masculine and feminine roles in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis/ Die Verwandlung by investigating the importance of masculinity in late nineteenth century of Western Europe. Kafka’s biography emphasizes his struggle with masculine roles in the familial structure that stressed the importance of religion and nationality, which is mirrored in Gregor’s family dynamic. The scholarly conversation concerning Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, revolves around answering the questions, “what is the meaning of the transformation?”; “Is it physical or psychological?”; and “are there cultural inferences reflected in the transformation?” The amount of information gathered on the text is inexhaustible yet many questions still remain unanswered. Through a textual analysis of Die Verwandlung and the application of historical and biographical readings on Kafka’s familial and relational issues, I will argue how Kafka’s intrapersonal disputes of competing values and desires parallel Gregor Samsa’s adjustment to his transformation.