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A Bug of Alienation...

By February 28, 2013

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MetamorphosisI remember when I first read The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka. I'd first read The Hunger Artist--one of Kafka's popularly anthologized short stories. Both works offer different views of alienation--one character becomes a bug (cockroach/beetle?); the other makes himself into a hunger spectacle for his art.

Franz Kafka once wrote in a notebook: "Looking on oneself as something alien, forgetting the sight, remembering the gaze."

He also wrote:

  • "From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true."
  • "One can disintegrate the world by means of very strong light. For weak eyes the world becomes solid, for still weaker eyes it seems to develop fists, for eyes weaker still it becomes shamefaced and smashes anyone who dares to gaze upon it."
  • "You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid."

How does Franz Kafka affect your view of life and literature? Does you intently--and with personal feeling--understand the alienation of his characters?


January 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm
(1) not in sect says:

Patty Inglish’s review of Metamorphosis is her view, not Kafka’s. Kafka’s story is a reflection of Kafka the individual as you can see by reading his diaries and letters. It is most certainly not a prophecy on capitalism or any such nonsense. The whole idea is absurd in context with Kafka’s other writings. People have felt alienated and invalidated and unable to handle social and other pressures long before capitalism and accompanying industrialism. Attributing your own motives to a writer and forcing a crude interpretation on a masterwork of literature is disrespectful and banal. Metamorphosis is Kafka, not agitprop. Literary art should be cherished, not used.

July 25, 2012 at 3:34 am
(2) Richard Hunter says:

The inflammatory and empty comments by “not in sect” are ridiculous and abusive, seeking attention through trolling on the Internet. They reflect an interesting new form of alienation for the 21st c. and one that Kafka also might have liked to address, had the Internet phenomenon occurred in his own time.

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