#4 The meaning of “Kafkaesque”

Franz Kafka’s stories all shared a particular characteristic  “the main character is aloof, kind of a prisoner of his circular reasoning. Procedures are bewilderingly long, complex and the laws and rules governing the procedures are confusing/unknown/unclear. This particular characteristic is what gave birth to the term “Kafkaesque”.

Below are some interesting elements about the history of the word and its author :

  1. Franz Kafka worked in an insurance company in Prague, which is where he saw how pointless and time-consuming too much of beaurocracy becomes.
  2. Many of his protagonists were office workers, who in order to achieve their goals, had to go through the Kafkaesque ordeal which often made success pointless in the end.
  3. His most popular works include “The Trial” and “The Metamorphosis”.
  4. He apparently asked his friend to burn his works but the latter published it anyway after his death.
  5. As it can be seen from his works, he was very meticulous in his decriptions while writing.
  6. He is believed to have been detached and has preferred a solitary lifestyle since most of his main characters seem to be this way.
  7. The works of Haruki Murakami, one of the critically acclaimed contemporary author, are often “Kafkaesque”.
  8. Haruki Murakami admits that Franz Kafka’s work has had much influence over him as he grew. “The Castle”, one of kafka’s work is on the list of top 5 books that Haruki recommends reading.

So when you go to the hospital in order to find out what you have in order to feel better and you get tossed all around, waiting in those queues, filling those papers which won’t be used or will get lost and be explaining to somebody who tells you to explain to another. Where in the end, you get to a doctor who prescribes things but is unclear and you still have no clue what you have and instead of feeling better you’re feeling worse due to all that stress and activities. I guess that is Kafkaesque.

 

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