Kafka might be the writer who is the most sensitive about the concept of interpretation. He interprets his own story, allows characters to interpret their destiny, invite readers to interpret his story by being themselves to be part of an interpretation. Consider his story, Before the Law: Kafka sketched the fate of the man from the country side at the gate of law only to invite a different interpretation from the part of the reader. He initiates such an interpretation with his character Josef K. who tells the priest at the cathedral that the ‘Old man deluded the gatekeeper’ – an argument which exists only in an interpretation of the story.
Consider his story The Judgment. Georg Bendemann’s life is subjected to the interpretation of his father who finally pronounces the judgment, ‘death by drowning’ at Georg. The protagonist of The Judgement had never been in conflict with his own self. But when Georg's life was weighed by his father, the former was delivered nothing but the capital punishment. Would the story of Hunger Artist have ever been successful had different interpretations about the art of fasting not been focused upon? Hunger artist was there to perform his art at any cost. But what makes the story more attractive is the way in which different interpretations – of spectators in the story, of we readers and of the author – construct the whole matrix at which the Hunger Artist finally perishes.
In The Castle too, K. faces several interpretations about various incidents in his life – his affair with Frieda, his attempts to meet Klamm at any cost and his befriending of Olga. Frieda has an interpretation about it, Pepi – the new barmaid who substituted Frieda – has another interpretation and the village council chairman has yet another.
More on this topic later.