What does the term 'kafkaesque' refer to and what would something described as 'kafkaesque-like' be in terms of The Metamorphisis by Franz Kafka?

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Franz Kafka wrote The Metamorphosis wherein Gregor is transformed into a huge insect. His sister is the only person who still even attempts to care for him and his mother clings to the hope that her son will resume his human form. He does not and eventually dies, his family having no more feelings for him or even caring about his welfare. he is after all, just a giant bug!

A person who writes in the style of Kafka could have their writing described as "kafkaesque" meaning that their work is characteristic of the nightmares and fictional images found in works by Franz Kafka, such as The Metamorphosis. The word itself, kafkaesque, does appear in the English dictionary as an adjective and is described as representative of his attempts to conceptualize and visualize how isolated man can be from others within his community. The world is a dehumanized place. (Chambers 20th Century Dictionary).

Therefore, when something other than writing is described as "kafkaesque" it would seem to indicate that it illustrates the concept of living or being in a world that is unaware and desensitized against ideas, beliefs or things that do not fit in with the so-called "norm."  

Read the study guide:
The Metamorphosis

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question