One of the most commended and compelling authors of the twentieth-century, Franz Kafka is notable for his novels and short stories that regularly depict human debasement and remorselessness. His compositions explored topics such as self-worth and the absence of human compassion and sympathy . Kafka's writings and story themes, although interesting and captivating, have darker implications all throughout. Kafka's writing suggests that it could have been influenced and impacted by his background. In light of Kafka's dim compositions, that were propelled by his past encounters, it very well may be said that Kafka may have experienced a psychological disorder.
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Kafka was born in Prague, Czech Republic. During his upbringing, Kafka was continuously tormented by the poor relationship he had with his crude father. The behavior and actions that his father demonstrated toward him, became a pivotal issue and focal point in Kafka's writing pieces.
Kafka was plagued with intruding sentiments of self uncertainty, which was inhertidely brought about by his father's actions towards him. These emotions are found throughout the themes and morals in almost every one of his writings. Kafka's association with his father caused him much distress, which he communicated in a letter that he addressed to his father. In the letter he addressed an "episode" between the two of them. His father had locked him out on the porch one night for sobbing for water. Kafka expressed this in his letter as, "One night I kept on whimpering for water….After several vigorous threats had failed to have any effect, you took me out of bed, carried me out onto the balcony and left me there alone for a while in my nightshirt, outside the shut door". Kafka proceeds in the letter saying, "...I meant absolutely nothing as far as he was concerned". Kafka, driven by dread, never gave the letter to his father, but rather passed it along to his mother. When discussing the letter, Cavalcanti commented, " His words are an allusion to a feeling of inferiority and to an impacting barrier imposed by his father".
"The Judgement" is a prime example that portrays the harsh feelings that Kafka had felt towards his father. The short story portrays a man, georg, whom is writing a letter to a friend, informing him about his engagement. In the midst of this, he decides to check on his ill father. Georg then proceeds to inform his father of the letter he wrote to his friend about his future marriage. The sweet story takes a turn when the father becomes aggressive. His father spews harsh words at Georg. In the story Georg's father sprites," ‘ Stay where you are! I don't need you! You think you still have the strength to come over here and you are only restraining yourself because you are in control! What a mistake! I'm still the one who's much more powerful". Afterwards, he condemns him to death by drowning. Georg feels pushed from the room and runs to the bridge, where he swings over the railing and supposedly plummets to his death in the water. There is a common theme of inferiority in the story and throughout Kafka's letter to his father. Kafka wrote in his letter to his father, " There was I - skinny, weak, thin; and you - strong big, broad. Before we had even left the cabin I seemed pathetic in my own eyes, not just in front of you but in front of the world, for to me you were the measure of all things". As introduced in the story and letter, Kafka feels insignificant and for all intents and purposes weak to his dad, which is at last what Kafka reflected all through this composing piece.
Kafka could be presumed to be severely depressed based on what he wrote, the symbolism in his stories, and his personal life experiences. Harold Bloom expressed, "He regarded his own life as a failure, to the point of feeling ashamed of it". These types of emotions could be found written in Kafka's story, "The Metamorphosis". The short story depicts a traveling salesman named Gregor Samsa, who one day wakes up as a beetle. Even though Gregor used to be the source of their income, he finds that his family is revolted by him. Gregor dies eventually casting that he is a burden to his family. In the text, Kafka revealed emotions that Gregor was feeling. It is stated in the text, "...although after such excursions he would once again remain motionless for hours, sad and tired to death". Through this story, Through this story, Kafka mirrored his sentiments onto his character Gregor, who in the story felt ashamed for what he became. Both Kafka and his character Gregor resembled each other in the sense of how they felt about themselves, which was expedited by family issues.
Kafka's love life was additionally influential material in his stories and in his personal life.
Manfred M. Fisher wrote, "He showed an ascetic attitude and an abjuration of any physical enjoyment, lust, and pleasure" . Kafka viewed sexual intercourse as filthy and cruel. It is believed that he utilized his extreme body image as a way to aviod any sexual relations and contact. He involved himself in fasting which resulted in extremely low and distorted body weight. He blamed his body condition so as to avoid sexual contact because he was "unworthy".
Furthermore, you can conclude that Kafka suffered from anorexia nervosa, which is particularly evident in the story he composed entitled, "A Hunger Artist". "A Hunger Artist" additionally revealed Kafka's need for acceptance. The story follows a professional faster, who is locked in a cage for a period of forty days, while in the public eye. In the story, the hunger artist strives for the acceptance of the public. Kafka himself felt alienated from the world because of his painful upbringing with his father. It is reflected in the story when it states, " Yet for some reason he was never satisfied; it was not perhaps mere fasting that had brought him to such skeleton thinness that many people had regretfully to keep away from his exhibitions, because the sight of him was too much for them, perhaps it was dissatisfaction with himself that had worn him down". This statement speaks to numerous variables of kafka's emotions including the loneliness he felt and furthermore the dissatisfaction he felt of himself. Like many of his stories, Kafka mirrored his sentiments of self-doubt, loneliness and a need for acceptance through his characters.
Taking everything into account, Franz Kafka was a brilliant writer whom revealed and channeled much of his personal hardships and life experiences into his pieces. His stories have a common theme of troubling father/son relationships as well as a constant need and strive for acceptance. It is evident in his stories, that Kafka suffered from multiple mental illnesses including depression and anorexia nervosa. Kafka has inspired numerous other writers through his utilization of imagery, symbolism and his delineation of genuine battles.