Essay on Franz Kafka's Use of Humor

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Franz Kafka's Use of Humor Franz Kafka, born on July 3, 1883 in Bohemia, in the city of Prague, has been recognized as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His works have been called "cloudy, mysterious, inexplicable" (Oates ix). Most people hear the term Kafkan or Kafkaesque and think of dark, fantastic tales with almost no basis in our known reality. But what of Kafka's sense of humor? I personally laughed out loud several times while reading Kafka's Amerika. Were these snippets of humor part of Kafka's plan or mere accidents? According to Roy Pascal, author of Kafka's Narrators: A Study of His Stories and Sketches, "There is a good deal of humour in these early stories, as in the novels and later stories, but…show more content…
Georg's father goes on to kick and yell at Georg extensively. Through this entire barrage and beating from his father the only thought that pops into Georg's head is "he has pockets even in his shirt" (Kafka 86) referring to his father's nightshirt. This left turn from the heat of the moment is quirky enough to give the reader pause and wonder what is going on. Such was Kafka's intent. Another good example is in the novel Amerika. Here, protagonist Karl Rossman comes to at 3:00 am after a serious fight with two men, Robinson and Delamarche, whom he met shortly after his arrival to the United States from Germany. He wanders out onto the balcony of the apartment he is trapped in and makes the acquaintance of a student studying on the balcony next door. Karl discovers the student works at Montly's department store all day and then studies and goes to school all night. When asked when he sleeps Karl hears, " 'Oh sleep!' said the student. 'I'll get some sleep when I'm finished with my studies. I keep myself going on black coffee. A fine thing black coffee.' 'I don't like black coffee,' said Karl. 'I don't either', said the student laughing. 'But what could I do without it? If it weren't for black coffee Montly wouldn't keep me for a minute. I simply don't know how I would get on in the shop if I didn't have a big bottle like this under the counter, for I've never dared to risk stopping the coffee-drinking...'" (Kafka 267). Why
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