Franz Kafka Short Fiction Analysis
Franz Kafka’s stories are not about love or success. They do not leave the reader feeling comfortable. Writing was, for him, a necessity. On August 6, 1914, Kafka wrote in his diary: “My talent for portraying my dreamlike inner life has thrust all other matters into the background; my life has dwindled dreadfully, nor will it cease to dwindle. Nothing else will ever satisfy me.” The meaning of the images from his dreamlike inner life was not always clear to him at the time of writing. Sometimes he realized only several years later what he may have subconsciously meant. Toward the end of his life, he decided that psychoanalysis was a waste of time and abandoned that approach in retrospective reading. Critics may not be of the same opinion.
Kafka wrote “Das Urteil” (“The Judgment”) in one sitting through the night of September 22-23, 1912. It was an eminently satisfying experience, the only one of his works that he said came out of him like a birth. When he sat down to write, he had intended to depict a war scene. Then, the story took its own direction, and when he finished, early in the morning, he was not sure what it meant. He knew only that it was good.
In the course of “The Judgment,” the main character, Georg Bendemann, experiences a complete reversal in his plans. At the outset, he announces his engagement to Frieda Brandenfeld. At the end, he commits suicide. The transition from...
(The entire section is 3655 words.)
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