Did you know that “Kafkaesque” is a word? Considering that such a word exists, it can be rightly assumed that Franz Kafka is a literary pioneer of the twentieth century. All of his works strikes an odd balance between reality and dreams. It is this aspect of his writings that makes his novels a surreal read. According to scholars who have studied his life, the interplay between these two opposing concepts took root in his early life.
Kafka’s family was a minority within a minority — he belonged to a German speaking, Jewish family in Prague. Kafka’s father was an imposing dictator who was eager to crush his son’s creative side. Kafka’s mother, on the other hand, encouraged her son’s sensitivity, imagination and pensive outlook towards life. She recognized her son’s potential, for he would put up plays for them on family occasions, using his sisters’ as actors.
The manifestation of this emotional and mental conflict that took place in Kafka’s life since a young age can be seen in most of his works. Interestingly, though Kafka had a strained relationship with his parents, he lived with them till 31 years of age. When he was 36, Kafka wrote a 100 page letter to his father where he tried to explain his feelings about their relationship. It began thus,