Cecily's Reviews > The Judgment

The Judgment by Franz Kafka
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it was amazing
bookshelves: kafka-and-related, short-stories-and-novellas

Kafka wrote this short story in a single night and dedicated it to Felice Bauer, a new friend, to whom he was engaged for a while. It might be thought a rather odd dedication, given that it's a chilling story of Georg's relationship with his disappointed father (as Herman Kafka apparently was with Franz).

As with many of Kafka's writings, windows feature. It starts with a man gazing out of a window, remembering his friend who emigrated to Russia three years earlier. In contrast, his father's window is firmly shut.

Georg is trying to write to his friend, and this is tricky because he is worried that his friend's life has stalled, so is reluctant to recount his own happy news, most particularly his forthcoming marriage (he assumes his friend has lost all chance of marriage).

Instead, he reports random gossip, but even this causes problems:
"Thus it happened that three times in three quite widely separated letters Georg had announced the engagement of some indifferent man to some equally indifferent girl, until quite contrary to his intentions his friend began to develop an interest in this notable occurrence."

Thus far, it is a realistic story of an earnest young man, unsure of what is the right thing to do, with a dash of dry humour, but then it becomes more unsettling.

The father questions Georg's sanity and whether his friend exists. There is a confusing row during which the father lists his many disappointments with his son, and the reader is left uncertain of the truth and which, if any, of the characters, is sane.

It culminates with the father passing a terrible judgement on his son. And most shockingly of all, the son unquestioningly acquiesces.

You can read the full story here (9 pages):
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Reading Progress

November 28, 2014 – Started Reading
November 28, 2014 – Shelved
November 28, 2014 – Shelved as: kafka-and-related
November 28, 2014 – Shelved as: short-stories-and-novellas
Finished Reading

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