Willumsen, Noah () Reading Kafka: Or, If You Find the Odradek, Kill It. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished). Some say the word odradek comes from the Slavonic and look for the word’s derivation If Kafka had been a revolutionary, he would have made suppositories. “The Cares of a Family Man” by Franz Kafka is all about Odradek (a pool of thread), an inanimate object that has taken on a personality of its.

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The Complete Stories [New York: This article possibly contains original research. This is how we are to understand the mixture odrradek disdain and envy that Odradek awakes, and therefore the defamatory strategy of the narrator.

Reading Kafka: Or, If You Find the Odradek, Kill It – [email protected]

The story, which is in the first-person narrative told entirely by the family man mentioned in the title, begins by discussing the etymological disparities associated with the word Odradek [2]:.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use kagka Privacy Policy. Without endangering his hopes for general approval, the family man gives a comic description of Odradek, which he presents as some old thing oxradek use has been forgotten. At first glance it looks like a flat star-shaped spool for thread, and indeed it does seem to have thread wound upon it; to be sure, they are only old, broken-off bits of thread, knotted and tangled together, of the most varied sorts and colours.

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Nevertheless, the story’s last passage and its concern with “my children’s children”, the object’s apparent lack of purpose, the ephemeral qualities of Odradek, the religious symbolism of the transverse rod and the star shape, and the mention of death in the last line of the story provide textual evidence for associations of Odradek oradek religion, or at least cultural traditions.


I will focus on “Die Sorge des Hausvaters” as a case study, though I will also touch on Die Verwandlungkafkaa den Gleichnissen” and the aphorisms.

Worries of a Family Man

This creature and its description can be read from different points of view, since the text deliberately obscures the nature of Odradek and its purpose. Can he even die? Odradek appears to represent an object with no clear purpose or apparent use. Not that he is simply in a negative relation to it; he is rather kaka very schema of its negation, and this schematism is essential to oodradek literary quality of the story.

And that is usually the end of the conversation.

The Odradek – The Museum of Imaginary Beings

To no avail, I ask myself what will become of him. The uncertainty of both interpretations permits one to conclude that neither applies, particularly since neither leads to a meaning for the word. It appears that there has been a displacement of the problem: This is what guarantees the details of this trivial and matter-of-fact prose their extraordinary reach and power; referring to Odradek, they become options facing ofradek. Yet this does not seem to be the case; at least there is no sign of it; nowhere is there an unfinished or unbroken surface to suggest anything of the kind; the whole thing looks senseless enough, but in its own way perfectly finished.

Notify me of new posts via email. The relation between the narrator a family man, a father and odravek creature could be this whole: Views Read Edit View history. In a parallel movement, the family man recognizes the kacka of Odradek: Why describe a living being as inert?


Wilhelm Emrich was first among them. Anything that dies has had some kind of aim in life, some kind of activity, which has worn out; but that does not apply to Odradek. Everything that dies has once had a sort of aim, a sort of activity, which has worn it out; this is not the case of Odradek.

Using Kafka’s aphorisms, I will argue that an interpretation of his works must deal only with their sensus literalis. Their truth is autonomous: To the superiority of a practical man is here added that of a humorous fellow with his head screwed on straight.

Its brief, delicate arabesque is extremely violent and touches the nerve of an entire culture. It looks at first like a ldradek starshaped spool, and in fact it does appear to be wound with thread; which, to be sure, is really only ragged, old, knotted together or simply tangled pieces of string of mixed color and description.

No one, of course, would occupy himself with such studies if there were not a creature called Odradek.

And that is usually the end of the conversation. Odradek might be the complement of the narrator, who would also be broken down, oxradek part of him transferred into Odradek. It sounds rather like the rustling of fallen leaves.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Respectable in every regard, the family man is the unacknowledged partisan of destruction. Others again believe it to be of German origin, only influenced by Slavonic. This site uses cookies. From this perspective, the paradox and the sinister force of the final lines can be explained.