Sunday, January 15, 2006

Kafka and Imaginary Animals

Imaginary animals are very common in Kafka’s writings. Recall his famous stories Metamorphosis, Cares of a Family Man, Blumfeld: An Elderly Bachelor etc. I used to tell my friends, “Probably Kafka had been experiencing himself as an imaginary animal at times; like a gigantic insect, or like Odradek, an animal which is very insignificant in a familial context." For Kafka, an animal is always mischievous, unmindful of its own good intentions. Kafka’s narration is always from this angle: because animals are mischievous by nature, or rather humans consider them to be mischievous, they are destined to be tortured. Who ever sympathize with the ‘animal’ can join him. That is a minimum requirement and the least thing you can collect from his stories. But when we realize that the mischievous animal symbolizes human, the meaning implied calls forth a different sensibility. Hence animal is not the point of interest of Kafka. Instead his interest is to drive a point home using human’s perception of animal as a medium.

Future projects on Kafka

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