LiteratureWorld Literature

Overall Themes of Franz Kafka’s Writing

5 Mins read


Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague. In his fiction, Kafka was capable to evoke a way of the bewildering oppressiveness of modern life.

His characters continually face failure and futility, and so they battle to outlive in a world that’s largely unfeeling and unfamiliar.

Themes from his different works

The themes of existentialism, prosecution, heavenly judgement and punishment are closely represented in his book The Trial and in his novel, Kafka relates a story about a man referred to as Joseph K who has woken up at one night by hammering on his door. He finds that he was under arrest. As much as K. wishes it, he’s not alone. Everyone who is aware of him additionally is aware of about his trial. From his perspective, the whole universe finds him responsible from the informal observer to the men who kill him like a dog.

Many of Kafka’s characters may be seen as variations of Kafka himself. The Joseph K. of The Trial is considered Kafka himself, and the way in which the character is suspected of a criminal offense that’s by no means recognized but for which he feels guilt simply the same is the way in which Kafka noticed himself on this world.

Read About: Analyzing the Theme of Suicide in Kafka’s The Judgment

Kafka’s writing is gloomy, his works convey an utter sense of helplessness, vulnerability and rejection. All his works appear to have been affected by his personal real-life relationship with his father. The plot never becomes optimistic until the end, it retains on slipping from unhappy to depressing to the bottom of the pits.

Similarly, The character of Gregor Samsa in Metamorphosis can also be a reflection of the actual Kafka. In “The Metamorphosis”, Gregor Samsa turns into a bug as if it had been a standard affair in his world. The focus is on the disgust and indifference he faces as a bug, and no character within the story, together with Gregor himself, is shocked about his metamorphosis, nor do they even attempt to discover its cause or resolve the issue. The major concern is just to cope with a despicable bug in the home. Underlying this story is the sense that Gregor is being punished for some unstated crime and that the universe has taken this implies of inflicting that punishment.

Kafka was a really self-analytic, sometimes a self-obsessed, author. His diaries and letters comprise many reflections on his personal life and the way it has gone wrong.

To achieve some sense of Kafka’s personal experience, and to see how he started fictionalizing it within the process of reflecting on it, allow us to take a look at his longest piece of self-analysis, the well-known ‘Letter to his Father’. Kafka wrote this letter, analyzing his relationship along with his father, in November 1919. He appears to have meant to send it to his father within the hope that it could clear the air between them, however his sister Ottla, to whom he confirmed it, and his mom, to whom he apparently gave it first, dissuaded him, and he kept it as a private doc.

Kafka recalls an incident when he, as a small child, woke his mother and father by wailing in the course of the night, whereupon his father lifted him out of bed and deposited him on the back porch of their home, making Kafka really feel, at least in retrospect, as if he had been nothing in any respect, in comparison with his father.

Read About: “In the Penal Colony”: Themes

Kafka, by his personal account, felt overwhelmed by his father. Hermann Kafka’s large physique (which would appear enormous to a child), noisy self-confidence, and absolute authority made him seem to be an enormous. He writes: ‘I was oppressed by your sheer corporeality’,

What Kafka formulates here is the traditional Oedipal relationship as described by Freud. To emulate his father, he should oppose his father. The area where Hermann Kafka dominated most securely was marriage. He was married, Franz was not however was expected to marry.

An apparent solution to escape from Hermann’s world appeared to be by way of literature. Kafka’s emotional vulnerability resulted not solely from his father’s dominance but in addition from his mom’s early withdrawal of affection from him.

The brief story “The Judgment” by Franz Kafka illustrates the complexity of father-son relationships. George is an engaged young man who lives along with his widower father. They additionally do business together, and regardless that they work close to each other physically, they’re distant in engaging each other. George is introverted and chooses what to say very fastidiously.

After a dialogue and confrontation along with his father who tells him” And therefore understand this: I sentence you now to death by drowning! ”. George supposedly commits suicide by drowning on the end of the story. Hence, it’s his father who pronounces judgment on George, the son.

In “The Judgment” there’s an unresolved Oedipal Complex, as shown by George. George is a merchant whose business is enjoying recent success. His mom passed on two years earlier than the events within the story, and since then George took over the each day running of the business from his father. As George and his father discuss, the older Bendemann remarks, “because she hoisted her dress up like this and this, you chatted her up, and that’s how you could satisfy yourself …”. The father regrets not having been chosen by his son when he was a child. Instead, George approached his mother. George was nearer to his mother than his father.

Franz Kafka himself was twice engaged to Miss Felice Bauer, and actually, this story is devoted to the identical girl. That Frieda Brandenfield and Felice Bauer have the identical initials, Felice Bauer is not any mere coincidence. Kafka wrote “The Judgement” six weeks after meeting Felice Bauer, and he wrote to her over a few years, even when engaged, displaying his combined emotions for marriage. George has similar combined feelings regarding marriage. In a way, “The Judgement” could be very autobiographical in that it borrows a variety of details from Kafka’s personal life. Kafka himself was a really introverted author.

Read About: Analysis of Kafka’s “The Judgment”

If I discuss in regards to the theme of punishment in one other story “In the Penal Colony’, then the colony’s judicial system is that there is no such thing as a gradation of punishment. The punishment—demise—is similar it doesn’t matter what the crime, besides in one regard. The Harrow’s needles inscribe a distinct sentence on the physique of every condemned person. The phrases compose each a linguistic sentence (a sequence of phrases) and a penal sentence (the condemned person’s punishment). This sentence is programmed into the machine firstly of the execution process by the operating officer. The prisoner will not be advised what it’s before the machine is switched on. “He’ll learn it on his body.” The sentence is immediately associated to whichever commandment has been broken. Readers are given two examples. The prisoner who fell asleep on responsibility and shouted at his captain “will have written on his body: HONOR THY SUPERIORS!” The officer, in a bizarre act of sudden self-condemnation, selects his own sentence: “BE JUST.”

In Kafka’s view, there’s a lifestyle for any individual that’s the right one, and which is divinely sanctioned. To Kafka this reality itself constitutes an issue of great problem, as a result of he believes the dichotomy between the divine and the human, the spiritual and the moral, to be absolute.

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