Franz Kafka's Life and Work Term Paper

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And yet in his personal life despite the anguish he wrote about so eloquently he enjoyed modern novelties such as the cinema, aeroplanes, and motor-cycles. He went swimming and followed the vogue for nudism. He had his fair share of sexual affairs, and he complemented those with visits to brothels (Johnson, 2005).

Doubts about his work caused Kafka before his death to ask that all of his unpublished manuscripts be destroyed. His friend, Max Brod, ignored his instructions. Brod published the novels the Trial, the Castle, and Amerika in 1925, 1926, and 1927, and a collection of shorter pieces, the Great Wall of China, in 1931. These early works by Kafka as Description of a Struggle and Meditation are thought to be original in a characteristic way, even though their style is more concretely imaged and their structure more incoherent than that of the later works. The characters in these works all fail to set up communication with others. They follow a concealed logic that breaks normal, everyday logic. Their world explodes in grotesque incidents and violence. Each character is only a tormented voice, ineffectively questing for information and understanding of the world and for a way to believe in his own identity and purpose (Franz Kafka, 2010).

Kafka did not see his writing as a gift in the traditional sense. He considered both his talent for writing and what he produced as a writer curses for some unidentified sin. Since Kafka was agnostic or even an atheist, it is often assumed his sense of sin and curse were merely metaphors.

1. Kafka believed that he was a gifted writer. This was a fact that he recorded in his diaries.

2. He felt cursed by this gift. He hated the need to write and the desire for public praise.

3. Kafka spent his life in continuous depression and blamed alternately his father and himself.

These elements of Kafka's personality can be seen in the characters of his stories. The hunger artist and Josephine, the mouse singer, are both cursed by talent and a tremendous need for public attention. In Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk, Josephine maintains a desire to be ignored, but the reader knows she needs to hear praise. The theme of father vs. son appears in several texts, but most notably in the Judgment. Kafka is at times masked in his stories as Samsa, Bende, or K. At other times, he appears as an artist. This can really be seen when looking at the letter patterns of names, or the descriptions of the characters (Wyatt, 2010).

Combining the above issues in a somewhat coherent manner is Letter to His Father. Kafka's November 1919 letter to his father is an indictment filled with near-hate for his own father. The letter recounts the punishment he received for annoying his father one night, by constantly asking for a drink of water. His father locked him out of the house for a brief time. While the punishment was not violent, nor did his father leave him outside, Kafka's sensitive nature was forever marked (Wyatt, 2010).

Works Cited

Franz Kafka. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 26 May 2010.

Janouch, Gustav. Conversations with Kafka:…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Franz Kafka. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 26 May 2010.

Janouch, Gustav. Conversations with Kafka: Notes and Reminiscences. New York: Frederick a.

Praeger, 1953

Johnson, Roy. 2005. Franz Kafka: an illustrated life. Mantex. Web. 26 May 2010.

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