Literature, Words, Good food & Wine and other delicious conundrums

Franz Kafka – The Judgement



The cover shows a detail from Saturn Devouring One of His Sons 

from the series of Black Paintings, 1819-23,

by Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, in the

Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

It is disturbing, much like the story itself.

Kafka considered this his best story, it is a heavy,

dark, short story which deals with the tension

between isolation and alienation of the modern

artist and the demands of family and societal expectations.

Some critics have said that this story is a breakthrough

of the conflict between a father and son that

produces guilt in the younger character and that

this is ultimately reconciled through his suffering

and expiation; that there is a parallel between

The Judgement and Kafka’s own life.

  • Georg Bendeman, a young merchant writes a letter to a childhood friend in St Petersburg, announcing his engagement to a wealthy young woman, Frieda Bradenfield
  • Georg tells his old father who then questions the very existence of this friend of his son (?!)
  • The father then brings up his deceased wife, Georg’s mother and then accuses Georg of being a ‘bad’ human being and condemns him to death by drowning
  • Georg then flees from the house and jumps off a bridge to his untimely death!!

I quote from this dramatic, surprising ending:

‘Out of the front door he sprang, across the roadway, towards the water he was driven.  Already he was grasping at the railings as a starving man grasps at food.  He swung himself over, like the outstanding gymnast who had once been his parents’ pride.  Still holding on, with a weakening grip, he spied through the railings a motor-bus that would easily cover the noise of his fall, called out softly: ‘ Dear parents, I did always love you,’ and let himself drop.

At that moment the traffic was passing over the bridge in a positively unending stream.’

Comments about the story are that Kafka was plagued

by the discord between his literary ambitions and

his ambivalence about marriage.

Some Biographers say his relationship to Felice Bauer,

to whom he was engaged twice but never married,

was a catalyst to some of his most brillant work,

of which ‘The Judgement’ is the first.

Hardly ‘laugh-a-minute’ reading!

I can’t wait to get stuck into ‘In the Penal Colony’

I believe it is all about pain and torture! (heavy sarcasm)


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8 thoughts on “Franz Kafka – The Judgement

  1. Pingback: The Virtual Slaughter of the American « realmanure

  2. livvy1234 on said:

    I read Metamorphosis, and the Penal Colony. Whew, the Penal Colony is horrific!

    You just convinced me to reread all my Kafka short stories. Just took the book off my shelf again and will start reading tonight!

    • Did ya ever get to read the Kafka short stories? What your favourite?

      • livvy1234 on said:

        I am working on the autobiography of Kafka. I have reread it three times, and there is still things I need to understand about him. He lived during a tragic time.
        His writing was greatly influenced by Dostoevsky and Charles Dickens. He was born in 1853. I need to research the times in which he grew up.

        I love all his stories.

        In 1933, the Nazi’s baned his work, and held public burnings of his books.

        In 1942, his sisters Elli and Valli, and their husbands were taken to the Lodz getto in Poland, where they died. Greta Bloch, who was Kafka’s lover, was beaten to death by a Nazi soldier

      • Love Dostoevsky, thanx for that share (still getting to know my and no longer get updates in my email so it means going through blog list.

  3. Pingback: Francisco de Goya, father of Impressionism, Expressionism and Surrealism | Yareah Magazine. Arts and writing

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