Style of Great Writer – Franz Kafka
“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”
– Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka regarded as one of the most influential authors of 20th century.
His style of writing has created such as an impact that his style got a special tag which is known as “Kafkaesque”. Frederick R. Karl, author of his critical biography of Franz Kafka, believed that the word is as misused as it is used?
The term ‘Kafkaesque’ as a style is seen by many as a synonymy for “Surreal”.
His stories are strikingly strange, symbolizing the weirdness and signifying absurdity of life. He delves deep into the psychology layers of the character and characterizes the bizarre side of one’s imagination & thinking. He sumptuously enjoyed playing with metaphors and his expression was intrinsically metaphorical in articulation. Though his points were simple and straight to the point but he was always weaving a web of complexity and that was inherently critical to decipher.
Kafka is in the forefront of literary dissection and dissertation. “The Metamorphosis,” “In the Penal Colony” and “The Judgment” are among the most extensively read stories. It is said the “The Trial,” Kafka’s best-known long fiction, with its “trappings based on misinformation”, has achieved the mythic imagery of a world gone crazy. Most of his works were published posthumously.
To throw some significant light on the various themes of Kafka’s writing; a brief examination is needed of his life, his thoughts, his beliefs, and his ideas on the unique style of his writing. The real conditions of his life, especially his family life, are certainly a model for the family interactions of the stories.
The nature of Kafka’s prose allows for varied interpretations and critics have placed his writing into a variety of literary schools. Some accused him of distorting reality whereas others claimed he was critiquing capitalism. The hopelessness and absurdity common to his works are seen as illustrative of existentialism. Some of Kafka’s books are influenced by the expressionist movement, though the majority of his literary output was associated with the experimental modernist genre.
The design of his versatile vitality of stories epitomizes Kafka’s style.
It was natural for Kafka to present an impossible situation, such as a man’s transformation into an insect in Metamorphosis, and develop the story from there with magic realism and extreme attention to detail. The style seems to ground the story in reality, sizing off any likelihood of its having been a dream, and yet the story itself is of an impossible occurrence.
The idea of writing about an insect appears in Kafka’s writing as early as 1907, while he held on to his idealism with regard to the writing process. He imagined his body moving around in the world while his true writing self remained behind in the form of a beautiful beetle. This image changed drastically in 1912. In September Kafka wrote “The Judgment,” possibly his most autobiographical story ever, in a single sitting.
Kafka wrote in his diary that the writing flowed smoothly and this is the only true way to write, with “a complete opening out of the body and soul.” Reading the proofs for the story a little later, Kafka found himself disappointed by the imperfections in the story. It was as if he had let out the story in a perfect form, but now realized that it was covered with “filth and slime.”
He said writing when it springs from within, is like giving birth, and the child is covered in mucus. The insect, Kafka’s metaphor for his writing self removed from the everyday world, was no longer a beautiful thing, but a repulsive and filthy one.
This is exactly the image he gave us in The Metamorphosis.
Franz Kafka imagined strange fictional space in which his characters attempt to make sense of a frightening world. Kafka’s writing style seems straightforward, but it depicts and describes the multitude of philosophy and irrationality of life. It’s not easy to understand his stories with only one reading. It needs re-reading to decipher the deeper meaning hidden in the wonderful choice of words and combination of sentences.
His complex and impersonal stories are so unique that his name inspired an adjective – Kafkaesque.
Nihar R Pradhan