The Resistance of the Invisible Mute: Gender Oppression in Franz Kafka’s “A Little Woman”

The Resistance of the Invisible Mute

Authors

  • Chi Sum Garfield Lau The Open University of Hong Kong

Keywords:

Franz Kafka, misogynist, oppression, visibility, audibility, feminist criticism

Abstract

In the works of Franz Kafka (1883-1924), it is certain that the notion of women is never as impressive as the monstrosity of his gigantic bug or the mystery of his artist who fasts endlessly.[1] Most of notable works written by Kafka seemingly center on male protagonists with a certain degree of uncanniness. As a scholar specialized in women’s studies, Evelyn Torton Beck highlights the minimal presence of women in Kafka’s works.

This essay aims to analyze the invisibility and silence of the female protagonist in “A Little Woman” (1923) in relation to the status of women in Kafka’s modernist world. In this story, the existence of the invisible and voiceless woman conflicts between the audible male narrator. The tension between them demonstrates gendered bias. The depiction of the little woman is made solely under a biased male perspective, which demonstrates how women are oppressed by the opposite sex in the patriarchal context.

 

References

Beck, Evelyn Torton. “Gender, Judaism, and Power: A Jewish Feminist Approach to Kafka”. Approaches to Teaching Kafka’s Short Fiction. Ed. Richard T. Gray. New York, NY: MLA, 1995. 35-42.

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Chow, Ray. “Sexuality”. A Concise Companion to Feminist Theory. Ed. Mary Eagleton. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 93-110

De Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Trans. H.M. Parshley. Middlesex: Penguin, 1972.

Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1984.

Glover, David & Kaplan, Cora. Genders. London: Routledge, 2000.

Kafka, Franz. “A Little Woman”. The metamorphosis, in the penal colony, and other stories. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. New York: Schocken, 1995. 234-243.

O’Neill, Maggie. “Adorno and Women: Negative Dialects, Kulturkritik and Unintentional Truth”. Adorno, Culture and Feminism. Ed. Maggie O’Neill. Trowbridge: Cromwell, 1999. 21-40.

Rubin, Gayle. “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex”. Toward an Anthology of Women. Ed. Rayna R. Reiter. NY: Monthly Review Press, 1975.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own and Other Essays. London: Folio Society, 2000.

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Published

2020-11-22

How to Cite

Lau, C. S. G. (2020). The Resistance of the Invisible Mute: Gender Oppression in Franz Kafka’s “A Little Woman”: The Resistance of the Invisible Mute. International Review of Literary Studies, 2(1), 11-21. Retrieved from https://irlsjournal.com/ojs/index.php/irls/article/view/14