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Franz Kafka and being an outsider in the society Essay

As the oldest child, after the deaths of his older brothers, Franz Kafka, however, has never reached the dominance and leadership character and failed to live a normal, human life – after his birth he had doubted in his human nature and grew as an outsider inside the community. His father, a successful shopkeeper with giant managing abilities and patriarchal, yet tyrannical, personality, had no other goals, except material stability and social recognition.

It was him, who made Franz fail to live, who made him family-limited, unable to create his own household. Indeed, his father, Hermann Kafka, was the one, who broke his nature and drove him into literature. All of the pain, pressure, struggle and aspiration, Franz Kafka described in his writing, some of them depict the struggle between father and son, other between two worlds, yet, in any story, especially in the “Letter to His Father” (1919) and “The Metamorphosis” (1915), we can find incomprehension and longing for normal living.

His earliest poems were published by Brod in 1908 in Hyperion. His first novel Der Prozess (“The Trial”) was written after another failure – he broke off an engagement with Felice Bauer – and has started it with the words of somebody’s false accusation against Josef K. Maurice Blanchot has observed that Kafka’s works are “not always only literary. Salvation is an enormous preoccupation with him, all the stronger because it is hopeless, and all the more hopeless because it is totally uncompromising. ”(Banville, 2004).

Most of his literary characters were animals: mole, mouse, beetle; seems like Franz was no other than a formless being, who was looking for a way out of tough obstacles, yet is ready to be tortured, punished, destroyed. His characters are seeking for salvation, but they realize how disgusting, insignificant, unimportant they are, along with their problems and hardships. “The Judgement” is viewed by Herbert Tauber as a “vital existence in which probability and reservation rule … in which every step has an incalculable importance because it is taken

“Franz Kafka and being an outsider in the society” “Page #2” under the horizon of an absolute summons to the road” (Tauber, 1948). For him, it is the clash of two worlds, which existed in total isolation from each other and have no points of contacts. That is why the conflict leads to destruction. On the other hand, this conflict between father and son can be considered as a general social state that degrades with every step forward.

An early story “Description of a Struggle” “is not usually considered one of Kafka’s better works and it is often dismissed by critics turned off by its fragmentary nature and lack of polish” (Pawel, 1984), highlights Ernst Pawel in his “Nightmare of Reason”; this work will not attract the new reader, yet those, who dive in the philosophy of Kafka’s readings will be encouraged to read it. The character of this three-chapter work is a symbol of discrepancy and contrast of the single community. Franz Kafka’s helplessness to negotiate or get used to the community’s lifestyle is noted in his four stories in “A Hunger Artist”.

Michael Lowy, the Research Director of the National Center for Scientific Research, has viewed Kafka’s symbolism as libertarian socialism or anarchical ideology. “The libertarian inspiration is inscribed into the heart of Kafka’s novels … [The] state is an impersonal system of domination which crushes, suffocates, or kills individuals, where unfreedom prevails” (Lowy, 1997). The center of the story is a paradoxical notion – artist, who accepts his profession as honor, yet practices fasting, which has an artistic aspect.

The system (i. e. people) refuse to recognize him, therefore, refuse to see the reality and truthfulness of life (Dorothy W. , 2006). There is nothing but emptiness in the world. “The Stoker”, “The Man Who Disappeared” (“Der Verschollene”), or “Amerika” was an American novel for Kafka himself. The variety of names shows the complexity and differences of the novel. It is the state, where “workers are not on the side of the authorities” (Kafka, 1956). In rather humorous style, Kafka represents the Statue of Liberty with a sword; American democracy, with a shadow of authoritarian policies, is combined with bureaucratic injustice and poverty.

“Franz Kafka and being an outsider in the society” “Page #3” The fiction “The Great Wall of China” “deals (duplicitously) with an other-as-self from an inside which is really an outside” (Kelen). This is another Kafka’s work that deals with symbols and metaphors, internal and external struggle and his own life of an outsider. The wall is a symbol of fear, yet, the end of empire represents the erasure of boundaries between the Western and Chinese worlds.

Kafka is using his technique of the narrator to describe relation to one another and what is happening nearby. “In “Country Doctor” we witness a second type of infiltration of literary production by theories or methods schooled on Freudian psychoanalysis” (Lecture Notes, conclusion). The work is filled with doubled words (horses, carriages, patent examinations, children songs, homes), and words that have different meanings (dilemma – problem or solution, shame, information’s and people’s mislaying). “The Castle”, a philosophical novel, depicts the castle’s authorities, bureaucratic attitude and man’s struggle against the existing system.

“The novel’s aesthetic and interpretive complexity, it will be seen, underlines the multi-layered meaning of salvation itself, in a modern world in which salvation is not necessarily one of divine grace, of deliverance from sin and damnation” (Panichas, 2004). The totalitarian authorities, impersonal system that is built in hierarchical order are shown as apparatus that rules over the lay people, who must be subordinated to this machine. It is manipulation and control that is obvious in any modern society and the procedures it governs and inevitable for every citizen.

“K. gains through her personality some insight into a possible solution of his quest, and, when he speaks of her with affection, he seems himself to be breaking through his sense of isolation” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Kafka, as a living example of outsider, who had made his way to live in the community, all through his works has depicted the world of contrasts, where everyone lives in isolation, trying, at the same time, to find his place in the community.

Works Cited: 1. Banville J. (October, 2004). The Human Stain. The Nation. October 18 issue. 2. Dorothy W. Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” December 15, 2006 Retrieved from the website “Of Books and Bicycles” on February 25, 2008 http://ofbooksandbikes. blogspot. com/2006/12/franz-kafkas-hunger-artist. html 3. Encyclopedia Britannica. Franz Kafka. Works. Retrieved on February 25, 2008 from http://www. britannica. com/eb/article-3813/Franz-Kafka 4. Humanitas, G. (March, 2004). Kafka’s afflicted vision: a literary-theological critique. (Franz Kafka). Humanitas. 5. F. Kafka. (1956). Amerika. Frankfurt: Fischer Publishing House. pp. 15, 161. 6. Kelen, C. The Great Wall of China and Kafka’s Limitless Tropology.

Queen: a journal of rhetoric and power. Vol. 2. 1. Power and Recolonization. 7. Lecture Notes: Franz Kafka, “A Country Doctor”. Washington Courses. Retrieved on February 25, 2008 from http://courses. washington. edu/freudlit/Doctor. Notes. html 8. Lowy, M. (1997). Franz Kafka and Libertarian Socialism. New Politics. Vol. 6. no. 3. 9. Pawel, Ernst (1984). The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka. New York: Farrar-Straus-Giroux, p. 160-163. 10. Tauber, Herbert. (1948). Franz Kafka: An interpretation of his works. Yale University Press.


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