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A Summary of Franz Kafka

Updated on June 12, 2012
Young Kafka
Young Kafka

Childhood

•He grew up in a middle class family.

•His 2 brothers died within a year of birth. He later stated it was the doctor’s mistakes.

•He also had 3 sisters.

•He experienced a majority of his childhood being raised by a governess. This gave him a weird relationship with his parents and brought him away from them.

• He was sent to school in Germany, which was the elite in education at the time. He took Latin, Greek, and History. His professors discouraged him in literature so he graduated in law.

•He was quiet and withdrawn. He had almost no friends.

His Father

•He despised his son’s love of literature and writing. He had no respect for it at all.

•Kafka wrote about their constant fights.

•His father was a source of despair in his writing.

A famous piece is a letter stating Kafka’s frustration with his father. He never sent the letter.

•His father convinced him to take charge of his brother-in-law’s factory, which was later shut down. He was almost driven to suicide in the process. It took a large toll on him.

•“No plea of Gregor's helped, no plea was even understood; however humbly he might turn his head, his father merely stamped his feet more forcefully.” The Metamorphosis

The Women in His Family

•His relationships with his sisters and his mother were positive.

•At a young age he wrote plays for his three sisters to act out. They were the only people that attempted to understand him.

•“But he would never have been able to guess what his sister, in the goodness of her heart, actually did.” The Metamorphosis. In this book his sister feeds him and takes care of him for the majority of the book.

Kafka's Relationships

•He had a very strange view of a married life.

•Kafka had many, many affairs. He regularly participated in “one night relationships”.

•He constantly would leave relationships at the very last moment before marriage.

•His longest relationship was with Felice Bauer. They wrote letters to each other and their relationship was very long distance.

•He proposed in 1913, but tried to convince her to say no in the very same letter.

•The relationship soon ended. Of coarse Kafka bailed out at the last moment. Later in his life he proposed again, but she denied.

•“But as soon as she was beside him, the groom puts his arms around her and pushes his face against hers. She screams and runs over to me.” A Country Doctor. He had some pretty weird thoughts on physical relationships.

Alone

•Max Brod, his friend, stated that Kafka had an “imaginative obsession with imprisonment and alienation.” It was like he was a prisoner in his own mind, like the bug in The Metamorphosis.

•He was always moving around and never really felt at home.

•“Nowhere was his private time in accord with the time on the tower clock.” A Close Friend. He had a job in which he worked very little hours to leave room for writing.

•He ordered Max Brod to burn all of his unpublished works when he died do to a lack of confidence. He thought that nobody cared what he had written. Max disobeyed his orders.

•“Naked, abandoned to the frost of this unhappy age, with an earthly carriage and unearthly horses, I drive around by myself, an old man.” A Country Doctor

A Few More Pictures

Kafka's Birthplace

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