Kafka’s singular and strange work expresses the protest of the isolated man against the crushing of his personality by the hostile forces of society. Kafka depicts man’s despondent destiny.
His artistic vision is hallucinating, grotesque, penetrated by restlessness and resignation, and from which the aspirations towards a better fate, to a humanist ideal sometimes echo, but they are quickly stifled by the hostile environment.
His stories and novels express the drama of the existence of ordinary man, a man exposed to the oppression of the monstrous bureaucratic state apparatus, his impossibility to decipher the meaning of his existence in society and the dehumanization of family relations.
Dramatic tension and nightmare vision are characteristics of Kafka’s work, being determined by the alternation of the real and the fantastic plans, overlapping absurdity over perfectly logical and rational elements.
The preliminary study of Kafka’s stories is a useful exercise in understanding his novels. The Judgment is a drama of sensibility until near to its end. Georg Bendemann enters his father’s room, being full of endless affection and caution. He stripes him and then puts his father in bed, but the old man has a senile dementia crisis and accuses his son of ingratitude and falsity, then pronounces the sentence: “I blame you for death by drowning”.
Until here we are on the ground of the most authentic reality, but suddenly it goes into the absurd field through a surprising change of plans. Georg is hallucinated and as he climbs the parapet of the nearby river, then he throws himself in the water saying the words: “Dear parents, I still loved you”.
With The Metamorphosis the story suddenly enters the fantastic, incredible field. The vendor Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and finds that he has been metamorphosed in a horrific millipede. It’s easy to imagine the stupor of his parents and sister when they saw what Gregor turned into. He is avoided and isolated in his room, which has soon been transformed wasteful warehouse. Gregor dies in silence and suffering.
In the Penal Colony an explorer is taken by an officer to the execution venue where a convict will be executed. The verdict was given by the officer who is also the judge, and the convict will be executed by a torture machine. The explorer declares himself against such methods, saying that he will protest in front of the commander. Then the officer releases the prisoner and he executes himself, but the machine is defective and increases his pain.
Being a precursor of existentialism, Kafka included in his writings surrealist and expressionist elements. His work is a continuous allegory that is crossed by myths and symbols of disorientation and despair resulting from the obsession of the immunity of a world whose objective mechanism cannot be understood by its heroes.
from Ovidiu Dramba, Franz Kafka