style that has been widely influential and is worthy to emulate. The objective of this
paper is to analyze and pull apart the various aspects of Kafka’s style, and concurrently critique
my own attempt to imitate Kafka’s style. I will explore the aspects of Kafka’s work (primarily
Metamorphosis) from the very basic elements of style to literary techniques, and explain my
attempt to utilize these same elements in my own work of short fiction The Infinite Desert.
First, examining the very basic elements of style in both Metamorphosis and The Hunger
Artist, a distinct stylistic approach becomes clear. In terms of syntax, Kafka likes to write very
long sentences. While I’m tempted to refer to this stylistic choice as stream of consciousness,
it really does not fall under that definition. While he writes in long (and I mean really long)
sentences, there isn’t that sense of disjointed ideas and thoughts. Specifically speaking of
Metamorphosis, Gregor’s thoughts are not presented in a rambling way; his thoughts are not
streaming together. They are clearly and carefully expressed. Stream of consciousness, in my
experience, can be difficult to follow and comprehend, but this narrative is very clear and
comprehendible in this sense.
In the same vein, Kafka’s diction has certain clarity as well, which seems to help to
intensify the fantastical element of his work. His writing is very straightforward and simple
without heavy figurative language. It is not too wordy. It is also very formal. Take for example
the opening lines from The Hunger Artist, “In recent decades the public’s interest in the art of
fasting has suffered a marked decl...
... middle of paper ...
... a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into
While I tried to carefully describe the desert and statues in my story in a similarly
matter-of-fact way, my story is not grounded in reality. The desert in my story is clearly a whole
other world, which is not something that Kafka would have done. Though I don’t think that
writing the story in that way took anything away from it, it does make it far less ‘Kafkaesque’.
From my experience trying to imitate Kafka’s writing style I feel I have come to
understand the complexities of his unique style better. Having teased apart the aspects of his
style and examined the various literary elements and techniques from syntax to metaphors, I
certainly have developed a great appreciation for the strange, illogical, and just plain bizarre
worlds Kafka has created in his short fiction.
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