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IlanaSimons
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The Judgment

[ Edited ]
The Judgment

Kafka considered this story to be his major breakthrough. He wrote it in a fury, in one sitting late at night. The following are some questions for beginning a discussion of this story.

Question 1: What does Georg’s friend in St. Petersburg represent to him? Why does this character remain nameless?

Question 2: Ego and selfhood are major themes here. What is this story saying about them?

Question 3: Do you think the Dad or Georg suffers more insanity in the end?

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 12-26-200612:26 PM




Ilana
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donyskiw
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Re: The Judgment

1. Georg's friend was just a touchstone to something outside his present life. He could remember his friend as a sort of escape when he was too caught up with his own reality. He remains nameless because his existence represents something Georg does not really allow to become real.

2. Ego and selfhood seem to be transitory in the story. Georg's selfhood is not really his own even though he thinks it is. His ego is not really as solid as it appears in the beginning of the story.

3. I think Georg suffers more insanity in the end. It takes insanity to make a human being self-destructive, the human survival instinct is very strong.

Denise
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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment

Did his friend represent the hope of a better life? I can't agree that it 'takes insanity to make a human being self-destructive' - a lot of very sane people have committed suicide. Depressed maybe but not insane. The will to survive is stronger in some people than others, as we see in the great survival stories - some people find life more of a trial than others and spme people give up sooner than others.



donyskiw wrote:
1. Georg's friend was just a touchstone to something outside his present life. He could remember his friend as a sort of escape when he was too caught up with his own reality. He remains nameless because his existence represents something Georg does not really allow to become real.

2. Ego and selfhood seem to be transitory in the story. Georg's selfhood is not really his own even though he thinks it is. His ego is not really as solid as it appears in the beginning of the story.

3. I think Georg suffers more insanity in the end. It takes insanity to make a human being self-destructive, the human survival instinct is very strong.

Denise


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IlanaSimons
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Re: The Judgment



Choisya wrote:
Did his friend represent the hope of a better life? I can't agree that it 'takes insanity to make a human being self-destructive' - a lot of very sane people have committed suicide. Depressed maybe but not insane. The will to survive is stronger in some people than others, as we see in the great survival stories - some people find life more of a trial than others and spme people give up sooner than others.



donyskiw wrote:
1. Georg's friend was just a touchstone to something outside his present life. He could remember his friend as a sort of escape when he was too caught up with his own reality. He remains nameless because his existence represents something Georg does not really allow to become real.

2. Ego and selfhood seem to be transitory in the story. Georg's selfhood is not really his own even though he thinks it is. His ego is not really as solid as it appears in the beginning of the story.

3. I think Georg suffers more insanity in the end. It takes insanity to make a human being self-destructive, the human survival instinct is very strong.

Denise








I'll show all my cards from the beginning...so feel free to pick apart as we go.
I tend to think of Georg's friend as a hallucinated alter-ego. Georg never grows up enough to leave home. He speaks of that "friend”—that never-seen other-me out there—who _did_ move away to start his own business.
Georg tries to send messages to that “friend” out there, but Dad interrupts the discourse.
I think this is one of the most Freudian of Kafka's texts.
About ego and guilt: I think the story is largely about the (Oedipal) fears of building your own identity. Georg is so vulnerable to Dad's authority that he never leaves home. The guilt of even imagining doing so makes him crazy.
Superimpose this fear onto Kafka's real life: Kafka lived with his parents into adulthood, twice proposing marriage to his girlfriend Felice but twice running away from the marriage. Here we see a poignant fear of growing up, of finding your own voice. Both Georg and Kafka stay home, simply imagining a fully developed voice/friend.



Ilana
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donyskiw
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Re: The Judgment

I do think his friend, imaginary or not, represented a better life. It doesn't appear that Georg would ever have been able to attain that life without some type of change in the way things were going (an intervention of some sort).

Insanity is a legal definition, not a medical one. A depression so severe it can drive one to self-destruction would be called insane by many, including myself.

Denise
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LizzieAnn
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Re: The Judgment

I found the Judgment just as offbeat as the others I've read so far. I think Georg's friend represents failure or the lack of growth. Naming him would make him/it more real instead of a distant memory/fear.

I don't understand Georg's just running out of the house & killing himself like that. His father sentences him to death by drowning - he jumps off the bridge. The uproar between him & his father just confuses things. I'm not sure what's true and what isn't.

As to insanity, I beginning to wonder who was more insane...Kafka or Max Brod. Anyway, I keep trying to understand.
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment

In law insanity is defined as 'unsoundness of mind sufficient in the judgement of a civil court to render a person unfit to maintain a contractual or other legal relationship or to warrant commitment to a mental health facility.' As someone who has suffered from severe depression and who has been hospitalised for it I can assure you that at no time was I considered insane under the above definition or locked away because I was suicidal, nor were many others I know! You must make harsher judgements of the mentally ill in the US:smileysad:



donyskiw wrote:
I do think his friend, imaginary or not, represented a better life. It doesn't appear that Georg would ever have been able to attain that life without some type of change in the way things were going (an intervention of some sort).

Insanity is a legal definition, not a medical one. A depression so severe it can drive one to self-destruction would be called insane by many, including myself.

Denise


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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

Would a prolific writer who graduated in law and learned three languages be likely to be insane? Being depressed, neurotic or odd is not being insane, unless you are using the secondary definition of being foolish? Kafka is said to have 'impressed others with his boyish, neat good looks, a quiet and cool demeanour, obvious intelligence and a dry sense of humour'.




LizzieAnn wrote:
I found the Judgment just as offbeat as the others I've read so far. I think Georg's friend represents failure or the lack of growth. Naming him would make him/it more real instead of a distant memory/fear.

I don't understand Georg's just running out of the house & killing himself like that. His father sentences him to death by drowning - he jumps off the bridge. The uproar between him & his father just confuses things. I'm not sure what's true and what isn't.

As to insanity, I beginning to wonder who was more insane...Kafka or Max Brod. Anyway, I keep trying to understand.


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LizzieAnn
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

First of all the statement is made out of frustration - frustration in trying to understand these writings.

Secondly, does intelligence have anything to do with insanity? Insanity can occur in all walks of life, at all ages, within any social status, and to people of varying degrees of intelligence. Insanity, depression, foolishness, etc - none of them are bound by any of these parameters.

I actually don't think Kafka was insane at all, just extremely different. He wanted his writings burned after his death. He may have thought that they would be difficult for an average person to understand and/or appreciate. Well, I'm such a person. I consider myself reasonbably intelligent but I don't necessarily understand this type of writing, and it's frustrating.



Choisya wrote:
Would a prolific writer who graduated in law and learned three languages be likely to be insane? Being depressed, neurotic or odd is not being insane, unless you are using the secondary definition of being foolish? Kafka is said to have 'impressed others with his boyish, neat good looks, a quiet and cool demeanour, obvious intelligence and a dry sense of humour'.



Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

I understand your frustration Lizzie Ann and sympathise. I agree that becoming insane has nothing to do with intelligence etc but The definition of insanity implies 'losing your mind', not being in control, being 'mad' etc. and I don;t think that Kafka fits into any of these things. Yes indeed, he was 'extremely different':smileyhappy: I doubt that writers deliberately write things that are difficult to understand - it is just their way of expressing themselves and some people understand or appreciate them and others don't. I love the 'stream of consciousness' writing of James Joyce, for instance, but I know many people can't make head nor tail of him:smileyhappy: I was wondering if, when people who don't understand or like Kafka, heard him read, whether it would make a difference? Or if they saw a good film (like The Trial) using his language? I haven't done either of these things but I think I will order a DVD of The Trial to listen to his work. Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867




LizzieAnn wrote:
First of all the statement is made out of frustration - frustration in trying to understand these writings.

Secondly, does intelligence have anything to do with insanity? Insanity can occur in all walks of life, at all ages, within any social status, and to people of varying degrees of intelligence. Insanity, depression, foolishness, etc - none of them are bound by any of these parameters.

I actually don't think Kafka was insane at all, just extremely different. He wanted his writings burned after his death. He may have thought that they would be difficult for an average person to understand and/or appreciate. Well, I'm such a person. I consider myself reasonbably intelligent but I don't necessarily understand this type of writing, and it's frustrating.



Choisya wrote:
Would a prolific writer who graduated in law and learned three languages be likely to be insane? Being depressed, neurotic or odd is not being insane, unless you are using the secondary definition of being foolish? Kafka is said to have 'impressed others with his boyish, neat good looks, a quiet and cool demeanour, obvious intelligence and a dry sense of humour'.






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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

I understand your frustration Lizzie Ann and sympathise. I agree that becoming insane has nothing to do with intelligence etc but the primary definition of insanity implies 'losing your mind', not being in control, being 'mad' etc. and I don't think that Kafka fits into any of these things. Yes indeed, he was 'extremely different':smileyhappy: I doubt that writers deliberately write things that are difficult to understand - it is just their way of expressing themselves and some people understand or appreciate them and others don't. I love the 'stream of consciousness' writing of James Joyce, for instance, but I know many people can't make head nor tail of him:smileyhappy: I was wondering if, when people who don't understand or like Kafka, heard him read, whether it would make a difference? Or if they saw a good film (like The Trial) using his language? I haven't done either of these things but I think I will order a DVD of The Trial to listen to his work. Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867




LizzieAnn wrote:
First of all the statement is made out of frustration - frustration in trying to understand these writings.

Secondly, does intelligence have anything to do with insanity? Insanity can occur in all walks of life, at all ages, within any social status, and to people of varying degrees of intelligence. Insanity, depression, foolishness, etc - none of them are bound by any of these parameters.

I actually don't think Kafka was insane at all, just extremely different. He wanted his writings burned after his death. He may have thought that they would be difficult for an average person to understand and/or appreciate. Well, I'm such a person. I consider myself reasonbably intelligent but I don't necessarily understand this type of writing, and it's frustrating.



Choisya wrote:
Would a prolific writer who graduated in law and learned three languages be likely to be insane? Being depressed, neurotic or odd is not being insane, unless you are using the secondary definition of being foolish? Kafka is said to have 'impressed others with his boyish, neat good looks, a quiet and cool demeanour, obvious intelligence and a dry sense of humour'.






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LizzieAnn
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

It is extremely frustrating. Perhaps his writing is just too dark or off-kilter for me. Whatever it is, I can't seem to get a grasp on it. I doubt if my interpetations of his writings (at least whatever interpretations I can glean from some of his writings) are anywhere close to what they should be.

These 3 writings have been difficult for me. I'm hoping that the others will start to make some sense to me.



Choisya wrote:
I understand your frustration Lizzie Ann and sympathise. I agree that becoming insane has nothing to do with intelligence etc but the primary definition of insanity implies 'losing your mind', not being in control, being 'mad' etc. and I don't think that Kafka fits into any of these things. Yes indeed, he was 'extremely different':smileyhappy: I doubt that writers deliberately write things that are difficult to understand - it is just their way of expressing themselves and some people understand or appreciate them and others don't. I love the 'stream of consciousness' writing of James Joyce, for instance, but I know many people can't make head nor tail of him:smileyhappy: I was wondering if, when people who don't understand or like Kafka, heard him read, whether it would make a difference? Or if they saw a good film (like The Trial) using his language? I haven't done either of these things but I think I will order a DVD of The Trial to listen to his work. Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867



Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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LizzieAnn
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Re: The Judgment - Dedication

I came upon an article while doing research on Kafka that said Kafka dedicated "The Judgment" to his fiancee at the time - Felice Bauer. Thought this was an interesting bit of trivia.
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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Laurel
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?



Choisya wrote:
Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867






Yes. That's the one that my cats seemed to understand better than I.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

There is no doubt that he is 'dark' Lizzie Ann so you are picking up on that side OK. Even his absurd side is 'black humour'. And he is also a European author and we I don't think many European books have been discussed/read on B&N/BNU. European writing does have a different 'slant' to American and British writing and the humour is very different too. I wonder if Danielle, our Parissiene, can offer anything here as to the 'otherness' of Kafka?




LizzieAnn wrote:
It is extremely frustrating. Perhaps his writing is just too dark or off-kilter for me. Whatever it is, I can't seem to get a grasp on it. I doubt if my interpetations of his writings (at least whatever interpretations I can glean from some of his writings) are anywhere close to what they should be.

These 3 writings have been difficult for me. I'm hoping that the others will start to make some sense to me.



Choisya wrote:
I understand your frustration Lizzie Ann and sympathise. I agree that becoming insane has nothing to do with intelligence etc but the primary definition of insanity implies 'losing your mind', not being in control, being 'mad' etc. and I don't think that Kafka fits into any of these things. Yes indeed, he was 'extremely different':smileyhappy: I doubt that writers deliberately write things that are difficult to understand - it is just their way of expressing themselves and some people understand or appreciate them and others don't. I love the 'stream of consciousness' writing of James Joyce, for instance, but I know many people can't make head nor tail of him:smileyhappy: I was wondering if, when people who don't understand or like Kafka, heard him read, whether it would make a difference? Or if they saw a good film (like The Trial) using his language? I haven't done either of these things but I think I will order a DVD of The Trial to listen to his work. Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867






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Choisya
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

LOL Laurel! Do you think they would understand the Anthony Hopkins version any better??





Laurel wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867






Yes. That's the one that my cats seemed to understand better than I.



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Laurel
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Re: The Judgment : Kafka insane?

they'd probably run away screaming.



Choisya wrote:
LOL Laurel! Do you think they would understand the Anthony Hopkins version any better??





Laurel wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Has anyone seen the Orson Welles film noir, which I think may be the best version:-

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3709/is_200207/ai_n9089867






Yes. That's the one that my cats seemed to understand better than I.






"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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donyskiw
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Re: The Judgment

Fine, I'm wrong then. My answer to Ilana's question is that, IN MY OPINION, Georg is the more insane and I THINK it takes a certain amount of insanity to destroy one's life.

Denise
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beshockley
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Re: The Judgment

Thanks for the questions! I had a difficult time with this story - in regards to trying to render meaning out of the story in a typical narrative sense. Adding the ego and selfhood themes virtually brought vision to my blindness. Now, instead of my initial bewilderness I am dazzled by this story.

IMO of what I understand of the meaning. Complete Allegory = Freudian Psyche
Georg = ego. Dad = Superego. Friend = Id.

1. The friend represents the delusional self perception where all things are possible - self realization. Nameless - because the person does not actually exist or does so only in the soul/mind.

2. A person in embracing adulthood comes to terms and closes the door with the endless possibilities of delusional self perception and embraces the reality of there actual lives as they truly exist.

3. Neither is insane - the text renders them both apparently insane to illustrate the unintelligible governing of the psyche inner dialogue. Thus Georg only dies in principle.




IlanaSimons wrote:
The Judgment

Kafka considered this story to be his major breakthrough. He wrote it in a fury, in one sitting late at night. The following are some questions for beginning a discussion of this story.

Question 1: What does Georg’s friend in St. Petersburg represent to him? Why does this character remain nameless?

Question 2: Ego and selfhood are major themes here. What is this story saying about them?

Question 3: Do you think the Dad or Georg suffers more insanity in the end?

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 12-26-200612:26 PM




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IlanaSimons
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Re: The Judgment

What a fantastic post, beshockley.
I think your reading is right on--and your comment about insanity makes sense. Each part of the psyche works in irrational furvor to maintain its role.
I also think that we could say that the friend is not just id but ego-ideal: He's the "realized" (working, married, independent) self that Georg dreams of being. Georg--the kid who hasn't overcome the Oedipus Complex--fails to rise to the task: to move out, to become that ego ideal. He dies under Dad's authority, never able to realize a self apart from dad.



beshockley wrote:
Thanks for the questions! I had a difficult time with this story - in regards to trying to render meaning out of the story in a typical narrative sense. Adding the ego and selfhood themes virtually brought vision to my blindness. Now, instead of my initial bewilderness I am dazzled by this story.

IMO of what I understand of the meaning. Complete Allegory = Freudian Psyche
Georg = ego. Dad = Superego. Friend = Id.

1. The friend represents the delusional self perception where all things are possible - self realization. Nameless - because the person does not actually exist or does so only in the soul/mind.

2. A person in embracing adulthood comes to terms and closes the door with the endless possibilities of delusional self perception and embraces the reality of there actual lives as they truly exist.

3. Neither is insane - the text renders them both apparently insane to illustrate the unintelligible governing of the psyche inner dialogue. Thus Georg only dies in principle.




IlanaSimons wrote:
The Judgment

Kafka considered this story to be his major breakthrough. He wrote it in a fury, in one sitting late at night. The following are some questions for beginning a discussion of this story.

Question 1: What does Georg’s friend in St. Petersburg represent to him? Why does this character remain nameless?

Question 2: Ego and selfhood are major themes here. What is this story saying about them?

Question 3: Do you think the Dad or Georg suffers more insanity in the end?

Message Edited by IlanaSimons on 12-26-200612:26 PM










Ilana
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