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Analysis of Franz Kafka's The Judgement

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Franz Kafka's The Judgement depicts the struggle of father-son relationships. This modernistic story explores Georg Bendemann's many torments, which result from the bonds with both his father and himself. Furthermore, the ever-present and lifelong battle that Georg has been fighting with his father leads him to fight an even greater battle with himself. Ultimately, Georg loses the struggle with himself by letting go of his newly found independence and instead, letting external forces decide his fatal outcome.

Georg Bendemann's relationship with his father has always been a complex and undulating one. Initially, up until the death of Georg's mother, his father had had total control over Georg- both psychologically and business wise (Lawson 22). In correlation with his father's power, Georg has been a pathetic, lonely, and subservient person. While speaking of Georg, the narrator states, "Perhaps during his mother's lifetime his father's insistence on having everything his own way in the business had hindered him from developing any real activity of his own" (Kafka 78). Since his father has been making all of the decisions, Georg has not been able to develop into an independent and strong person. However, a dramatic shift occurs when Georg's mother passes away. Georg is the one who starts calling the shots, and it is the father who gets pushed into the background. The father's loss of power is seen when he states, ."..I'm not equal to things any longer, my memory's failing, I haven't an eye for so many things any longer" (Kafka 82). During his father's decline, Georg takes the initiative to become the self-assertive individual that he has always longed to be. In addition, not only does Georg take control of his busin...

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...Bendemann's life abruptly changes with the death of his mother. However, along with this change, Georg has to deal with the many torments of the relationship with his father as well as the relationship with himself. Eventually, Georg loses the struggle with his father and allows himself to succumb to his subservient side by committing suicide. As a result, the emotional impact of this dramatic and complex story on the reader is a profound one.

Works Cited:

Kafka, Franz. "The Judgement." Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir. The Complete Stories. Ed. Nahum N. Glatzer. New York: Schocken, 1971. 77-88.

Lawson, Richard H. Franz Kafka. New York: Ungar, 1987.

Neumann, Gerhard. "The Judgement, Letter to His Father, and the Bourgeois Family." Trans. Stanley Corngold. Reading Kafka. Ed. Mark Anderson. New York: Schocken, 1989. 215-28.
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