“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka was first published in 1915. It is one of the most frequently analyzed works in literature. This elusive story, which chronicles the transformation of Gregor Samsa from a human being into an enormous insect, is renowned for its ability to inspire diverse, sometimes mutually exclusive interpretations ("Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka"). Two years after finishing film studies, Carlos Atanes, directed the film adaption very freely. He made the risky decision not to limit himself too much to the text. He took advantage of what production achieved and added some winks and above all, he dressed the story with a lot of allusions and references to the authors’ private and familiar life ("Carlos Atanes").
The original text of “The Metamorphosis” demonstrates Gregor Samsa as the provider of the family thus transforms into an insect and is unable to work. Gregor’s father, Mr. Samsa, is forced to get a job to help provide for the family since Gregor cannot ("Wikipedia"). The film version of “The Metamorphosis” shows how Gregor is mistreated and left unnoticed by his family after he transforms into a half human half insect body. From a gender studies critique, the Samsa’s play very unique characteristic roles ("Carlos Atanes").
Kafka’s story portrays Gregor as strong, independent, and a protector before his transformation. Unfortunately, after his metamorphosis Gregor was unable to provide for himself. Without Gregor being able to care for himself he becomes depressed, dependent, and vulnerable; all of these characteristic are used to describe your stereotypical woman. However, Gregor’s sister, Grete, took on the role as a caregiver to provide for the family and take care of Gregor as well as obtaining a job as a salesgirl. As I stated above, the Samsa’s play very unique characteristic roles, for example after Gregor’s transformation he portrays a feminist role and his sister, Grete, steps up to the plate and shows masculinity.
Atanes’ short film portrayed gender roles very similar and different to Kafka’s. The film shows Gregor as a half human half insect, but he doesn’t lose all of his independence and masculinity; unlike the original text by Kafka. The film also demonstrates the Samsa family as bitter and un-caring towards Gregor. Grete’s masculinity towards Gregor decreases as she gets tired of taking care of her brother and suggests that the family get rid of him ("Carlos Atanes"). Yes, Gregor’s family was unhappy with his transformation in the original text thus having to use your imagination, but the film really shows what happens between the texts with some differentiation. In the film, the father showed more anger towards Gregor because he could no longer provide for them; making Mr. Samsa become the “man” of the house and help provide for the family. Mr. Samsa’s characteristic role should have already been the “man” of the house. Yet, he relies on his son to provide for him and pay off his debts, therefore making his role very feministic.
After Gregor’s death the family shows no remorse or grief after seeing his body lying on the library floor. Women, especially Grete, have come from being dependent and vulnerable resembling Kafka’s Gregor Samsa, unlike the film where women have gained more independence and also shows the balance of gender roles. Nevertheless, since Kafka’s original text and Atanes short film of “The Metamorphosis” gender roles are still gradually changing.
. "The Metamorphosis-The Complete Story." The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jun 2012.
. "The Metamorphosis of Franz Kafka." Carlos Atanes. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jun 2012.
. "The Metamorphosis." Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jun 2012.