The Basic Kafka Characters

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The Basic Kafka Summary & Study Guide Description

The Basic Kafka Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on The Basic Kafka by Franz Kafka.

Franz Kafka is the author of the writings included in the book, "The Basic Kafka." He was born in 1883 and grew up in Prague, then part of Austria-Hungary, with his middle-class, Jewish family. He was the son of Hermann and Julie Kafka, and the brother of Valli, Elli and Ottla Kafka. He died at age 40 in 1924 of tuberculosis. Kafka was a very influential writer and contributed much to Western literature. He never married, but was engaged twice to Felice Bauer, but their relationship ended before he contracted tuberculosis in 1917. The collection of Kafka's work included in "The Basic Kafka" ranges from short stories, to very brief parables or thoughts, to letters to his friends and family members. Through the letters, we get a clear idea of Kafka's relationship with those around him and his personal feelings and views. For example, it is clear in his letter to his father that Franz and his father never got along.

Gregor Samsa is a character in the short story, "The Metamorphosis." At the beginning of the story, Gregor wakes up to discover he has been turned into an insect, without explanation. He first tries to deal with his situation, hoping it will go away before anyone discovers him. Gregor has been working to keep the family afloat and pay off his father's debts. However, he is unable to do so and loses his job when his boss catches sight of him. His family is horrified by him, but his sister, Gretel, finds a way to take care of him so the family can live in relative peace. Although Gregor does not try to cause problems for his family, they find that life with Gregor as an insect is not an easy matter, and they soon come to resent him. Gregor does not get angry at his family, but takes their displeasure personally and allows himself to waste away. The family is sad for how they treated him, but eventually recover themselves and embark on a new life.

Gregor Samsa's father is a character in the short story, "The Metamorphosis." He is disgusted at his son's transformation and tries to protect the rest of the family from his son. Since Gregor is no longer able to work to pay off his father's debts. Gregor resents his son for no longer bringing money into the household.

Gregor Samsa's mother is a character in the short story, "The Metamorphosis." She seems to still love her son as much as possible, but cannot face the sight of him as an insect. When she does she him, the whole family ends up in hysterics and Gregor feels badly.

Gretel, Gregor Samsa's sister is a character in the short story, "The Metamorphosis." She is the only one who attempts to take care of Gregor, but she also eventually ends up resenting him. She must also take a job once Gregor is unable to work.

Anna, Gregor Samsa's sister is a character in the short story, "The Metamorphosis."

The chief clerk is a character in the short story, "The Metamorphosis." Gregor Samsa works for him to pay off his parents' debts.

Georg Bendemann is a character in the short story, "The Judgment." He writes to a friend in St. Petersburg about his life. When his father confronts him about his ulterior motives in doing so, Georg drowns himself.

Frieda Brandenfeld is a character in the short story, "The Judgment." She is engaged to Georg Bendemann.

Georg Bendemann's father is a character in the short story, "The Judgment." He does not believe his son has a friend in St. Petersburg.

Georg Bendemann's friend is a character in the short story, "The Judgment." Georg writes him letters, at his new home in St. Petersburg.

The hunger artist is a character in the short story, "The Hunger Artist." He ends up starving himself to death when hunger artistry goes out of fashion and no one cares to see him anymore.

The mole-like creature is the narrator of the short story, "The Burrow." He is obsessed with the safety of his home.

Josephine is the singer in a mouse colony in "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk." She believes her talent to be most important to the mice colony.

Hermann Kafka, Franz Kafka's father is the recipient of a letter from Kafka, detailed in "Letter to his Father."

Valli, Elli and Ottla Kafka are the sisters of Franz Kafka and the daughters of Hermann Kafka.

Schmar is a murderer in the story, "A Fratricide." He murders Wese.

Wese is the victim in the story, "A Fratricide." He is murdered by Schmar.

Pallas is a witness to a murder in the story, "A Fratricide." He sees Schmar murder Wese.

Mrs. Wese is the wife of Wese in the story, "A Fratricide."

Poseidon is the god of the sea and is featured in the short story, "Poseidon."

Prometheus is a mortal who stole fire from the gods and is featured in the story, "Prometheus."

The doctor is the main character in the story, "A Country Doctor." He goes to treat a patient.

Abraham is the subject of the short story, "Abraham," and a figure in Christianity.

The doorkeeper is a character in "Before the Law."

K. is a character in the short story, "Before the Law." It could represent Franz Kafka.

Felice Bauer is a woman who Franz Kafka dated in his real life. They were engaged twice but never married, breaking off the engagement several years before his death.

Milena Jesenka-Pollak is a writer and friend of Franz Kafka.

Oscar Pollak is a friend of Franz Kafka.

Max Brod is a friend of Franz Kafka.

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