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English 102 Summer 2014 Franz Kafka


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Here is an autobiography of Franz Kafka, as well as reviews and a literary analysis of "A Country Doctor."

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English 102 Summer 2014 Franz Kafka

  1. 1. “A Country Doctor” by Franz Kafka Caitlyn Barrera
  2. 2. Franz Kafka Born: July 3, 1883 Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (Czech Republic) Died: June 3, 1924 Klosterneuberg, Austria Parents: Hermann Kafka Julie Kafka
  3. 3. Franz Kafka Siblings: Georg (died in infancy) Heinrich (died in infancy) Gabriele (died in Holocaust) Valerie (died in Holocaust) Ottilie (died in Holocaust) Friends: Max Brod (lifelong friend) Felix Weltsch
  4. 4. Franz Kafka Education: Deutsche Knabenschule elementray school Altstädter Deutsches Gymnasium secondary school Charles University of Prague Doctor of Law Work: law clerk – civil and criminal courts insurance officer – Assicurazioni Generali Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute Yiddish theatre
  5. 5. Franz Kafka Relationships: Felice Bauer dictaphone company representative engaged twice Julie Wohryzek hotel chambermaid engaged once Milena Jesenská Czech journalist Dora Diamant kindergarten teacher
  6. 6. Franz Kafka "What have I in common with Jews? I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.” Religious Background: Kafka was raised Jewish. but considered himself atheist in his adolescent years. His Jewish education ended with his Bar Mitzvah celebration. Dora Diamant sparked his interest in the Talmud, which influenced his writings in his later years. Writing for him was a “form of prayer.”
  7. 7. Franz Kafka Early Years: He wrote hundreds of letters, some specifically addressed to his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his sister Ottla. He wrote “Brief an den Vater” (Letter to His Father) which showed the true colors of how he felt about his relationship with his father.
  8. 8. Franz Kafka Later Years: In 1917, Kafka was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was forced to retire from his job at the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute. His tuberculosis influenced his writings. He had even admitted to his friend, Max Brod, that he had predicted his illness in “A Country Doctor”.
  9. 9. Franz Kafka Max Brod: He was Kafka’s lifelong friend. Because Kafka’s health was worsening, he requested that Brod, his literary executor, destroy any unpublished manuscripts. Fortunately, Brod did not adhere to his friend’s wish. He published The Trial, The Castle, Amerika, and The Great Wall of China, helping Franz gain fame after his death.
  10. 10. Franz Kafka Published Works: “The Trial” – 1925 (Brod) “The Metamorphosis” – 1913 “In the Penal Colony” – 1919 “A Hunger Artist” – 1924 “A Country Doctor” – 1919 “The Castle” – 1926 (Brod) “Amerika” – 1927 (Brod)
  11. 11. Franz Kafka Legacy: Franz Kafka’s books garnered favor during World War II and greatly influenced German literature. In 1988, Kafka’s The Trial was auctioned and sold for $1.98 million, which was the highest price ever paid for a modern manuscript at that time. He has his own term in literature: kafkaesque – marked by a senseless, disoriented, often menacing complexity
  12. 12. Franz Kafka Style: philosophical views on the absurdity of life surrealism strange and horrifying metaphorical and symbolic examines characters’ psychology and reasons for actions usually ends with an intuitive twist
  13. 13. What the Critics Say “Kafka is the ultimate challenge in A Country Doctor: he will not let the reader walk away from this tale. Just as the doctor cannot escape his nightmarish predicament, cannot reach home, we too are left in the book's nightmarish grip. We have no choice but to ponder on the difficult themes of the book and, ultimately, just what is means to be human.” -Carloine Dalzell “At the time of writing A Country Doctor, Franz Kafka believed it would be his last book. Perhaps this explains the similarities which can be drawn between the Doctor and Kafka himself: the terrible change in the Doctor, one that cannot be undone and one that he is powerless (or so he feels) to prevent; and Kafka's upbringing which created feelings in him of being ‘unfit for life among the living’ and that he ‘was an absolute Nothing’.” -Ernst Pawel
  14. 14. What the Critics Say “In this perplexing story Kafka struggles to find the meaning of ‘duty’ in a doctor's life as well as the relationship of ‘duty’ to Kafka's concept of ‘faith’. Kafka may have borrowed many of the concepts and images in his story from Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals. But unlike Nietzsche, who was an atheist, Kafka was a religious skeptic. This story reflects his ambivalence toward his Jewish faith. He argues for the importance of faith by confronting its absence: How are we to live without it? Without faith, can physicians perform their duty to heal? Kafka believes that illness is fundamentally spiritual in origin, that physicians need moral knowledge to truly heal, and that the practice of medicine should be an act of faith.” -Aaron Manson
  15. 15. What the Critics Say “Albert Einstein could not read Kafka. He handed back a novel of Kafka’s that Thomas Mann had lent him, confessing he had been unable to finish it, saying, ‘The human mind isn’t that complex.’ Something of Einstein’s bafflement has been felt by every honest critic approaching Kafka’s work. It speaks for itself. It is plain, unadorned. It holds no mystery. Kafka hides nothing.’ -Brian W. Aldiss “Kafka is most clear in this story: the impossibility of curing our age is his subject.” -Ein Landarzt
  16. 16. A Country Doctor Literary Elements: Similes: “...lowering their well-formed heads like camels...(96)” “...the carriage is swept away like a piece of wood in a current...(97)” “...a wound as large as the palm of one’s hand has opened opened up (99).” “...wide open as the surface entrance to a mine (99).” “Worms as long and thick as my little finger...(99)” “...the horses’ heads in the window openings waver like shadows (99).” “ slowly as old men we proceeded across the snow waste...(100)”
  17. 17. A Country Doctor Literary Elements: Metaphor: “I have discovered your great wound; you will be destroyed by this flower on your side (99).” Irony: “But I’m not out to improve the world, and I let him lie there (98).” Alliteration: “...the priest sits home and picks his vestments to pieces...(99)”
  18. 18. A Country Doctor Literary Elements: Symbols: “‘No!’ yells Rosa and with a true foreboding that her fate is inevitable, she runs into the house...(97)” “...naturally rose-colored and in addition spattered with blood, firmly attached to the inside of the wound...(99)” “ will be destroyed by this flower on your side (99),” The color rose as well as the flower is an age-old symbol for love. He wrote this story while he was engaged to Felice, so the character of the maid could be a symbol for his fiancée.
  19. 19. A Country Doctor Literary Elements: Symbols: “Poor boy, there’s no hope for you. I have discovered your great wound; you will be destroyed by this flower on your side (99).” “ the sickroom the air is barely breathable...(97)” “...embraces my neck and whispers in my ear: ‘Doctor, let me die.’ I look around; no one has heard...(97)” Could the occurrence between the doctor and the boy represent Kafka’s strained relationship with his father? After all, these two characters don’t seem to see eye-to-eye and have a misunderstanding when they first meet.
  20. 20. A Country Doctor Literay Elements: Symbols: “But the moment she has reached him, the groom embraces her and shoves his face against hers (96).” “But I instantly recall that he’s a stranger, that I don’t know where he has come from...(97)” The groom represents Kafka’s obsessive fear of sexuality and superiority. This character is his “alter-ego” because Kafka is not out-going and erotic in the least bit, but shy and reserved. The character of the groom is also the counter part to the doctor. So does the doctor represent Kafka himself?
  21. 21. A Country Doctor Literary Elements: Story Structure: 2 horses in the pigsty – “‘Hey there, Brother! Hey there, Sister!’ (96)” Is this foreshadowing for the patient an his sister? groom’s bite – “...two rows of teeth have left their red marks on the girl’s cheek (96-97).” Is this foreshadowing for the boys’ wound in his side? wound – “Brought on by two hatchet blows...(100)” Parallels: 2 carriage rides – fast; slow 2 examinations –finds nothing; discovers wound 2 songs – threatening; praising
  22. 22. A Country Doctor Literary Elements: Story Structure: Past  Present  Past  Present Does Kafka revert back to the present-tense in his story to dramatize the rape scene and the future of his beloved Rosa? By writing like this, he elevates the final catastrophe to the level of timelessness. In summary, the whole story is the inevitable consequence of a single mistake. The doctor chose professional desires over erotic and sensual desires for his beloved Rosa.
  23. 23. Works Cited Aldiss, Brian W. “Franz Kafka: Overview.” St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers. Ed. Jay P. Pederson. 4th ed. New York: St. James Press, 1996. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. Dalzell, Caroline. "Franz Kafka A Country Doctor Literary Review." By Caroline Dalzell. Humanities360, 6 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 July 2014. European Graduate School EGS. "Franz Kafka - Biography." Franz Kafka. N.p., 2012. Web. 10 July 2014. "Franz Kafka." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 10 July 2014. "Franz Kafka.", 2007. Web. 10 July 2014. Gray, R. Franz Kafka, "A Country Doctor" Kafka, "Country Doctor" N.p., 14 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 July 2014. Landarzt, Ein. "The Metamorphosis and Other Stories." Rev. of "A Country Doctor” Summary and Analysis (n.d.): n. pag. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt. Web. 10 July 2014. Manson, Aaron. "A Theology of Illness: Franz Kafka's "A Country Doctor"" Literature and Medicine 24.2 (2005): 297-314. Print. Nervi, Mauro. "Kafka's Life (1883-1924)." The Kafka Project., 1 Aug. 2011. Web. 10 July 2014. Pawel, Ernst. The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka. London: The Harvill Press, 1984.