His family were German-speaking middle-class Ashkenazi Jews. His father, Hermann Kafka — , was the fourth child of Jakob Kafka,   a shochet or ritual slaughterer in Osek , a Czech village with a large Jewish population located near Strakonice in southern Bohemia. After working as a travelling sales representative, he eventually became a fashion retailer who employed up to 15 people and used the image of a jackdaw kavka in Czech, pronounced and colloquially written as kafka as his business logo. In November the family moved into a bigger apartment, although Ellie and Valli had married and moved out of the first apartment.
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Summary and Analysis The Burrow" Der Bau " Summary In terms of narrative method, Kafka writes from within the mind of the protagonist, and the introspective protagonist — through whose eyes we see the maze of the burrow — is the author himself.
And the burrow with its innermost sanctuary, the Castle Keep, is his painfully constructed bastion against the animosity of the world around him. As he was to put it in his merciless, almost masochistic fashion: "I was glad when the blood came, for that was proof that the walls were beginning to harden.
I richly paid for my Castle Keep. It is against this incalculable world of irrational forces that he builds the burrow where he alone intends to be in charge. He believes his burrow will be superior to the reality of the outside because it is rational — which to him means perfect and entirely identical with its builder. That his complete seclusion from the "real" world above results in an unhealthy preoccupation with it, is also the result of his failure to understand that everybody ultimately takes himself with him wherever he may flee to, thereby contaminating the imagined perfection of his new, artificial realm.
For this reason, it is not exaggerated to call the burrow a solipsistic world. The entrance, however, is not only the point of contact with the outside world supplying air and food: it is also the place where potential enemies can make their way inside.
In other words, the impossibility of creating a perfect inner world goes hand in hand with the impossibility of shutting himself off completely.
Hence the burrow will remain unsafe in the last analysis. The awareness of this imperfection drives him mad and, as a result, he will go on building and mending corridors as long as he lives. To live is to be afraid, and to be afraid is to be worried about defending oneself. The trouble is, as Kafka put it in one of his well-known aphorisms: "The hunting dogs are playing in the courtyard, but the hare will not escape them, no matter how fast it may be flying already through the woods.
Time and again, it is praised as the sanctuary of tranquility and peace, sometimes even evoking associations of voluntary death. In "The Hunter Gracchus," for example, this hunt makes the "wood animal" a battlefield of opposing forces — "the assault from above" and "the assault from below.
The entire story, it should be said, is dialectic in character. Outside "reality" even loses its horror for short periods of time for him, but he soon returns to his burrow, incapable of enjoying the freer mode of existence. Kafka has magnificently expressed the all-pervading law of movement and counter-movement here, a reflection of his own life embroiled in counter currents.
The description of the unknown and yet steadily approaching noise ranks among the most brilliant passages Kafka ever wrote. There are few pieces in which he caught the nightmare of his own anxiety-ridden existence in such fearfully dense diction. They seem to be one long scream, reflecting his own seismographic sensitivity to the tremendous, though partly still latent, upheavals of our age. At first, the builder of the burrow only talks about certain "small fry" that have dug their way into his domain, and what bothers him most at this point is that they have succeeded without his noticing them.
Soon, however, the noise grows louder and keeps him on a steady alert. From everywhere within his burrow he can hear the whistling coming nearer and — this enervating thought completely overwhelms him — it may come "from some animal unknown to me. Once anxiety has made inroads into his badly shaken self, however, his agony is intensified. Reeling with visions of horror, he cannot keep the sound of the blood pounding through his veins distinct from the ubiquitous whistling any longer.
Unable and even unwilling to trust his observations, he jumps to conclusions which he discards before he has even set out to carry them through. In a maddening escalation of frenzy, the invisible pursuers are holding ever more sway over him, alternately scaring him to death and lulling him into short respites of exhaustion. In fact, the psychological term anxiety Angst in German is generally used to describe feelings of being threatened that lack concrete, known reasons.
As sheer horror approaches, invisible and yet more and more audible, "the growing — louder is like a coming — nearer. In fact, there had been plenty of time, for he was still young when he first heard the noise for the first time; as it happened, the danger subsided and, instead of taking this as a warning, he went on building his burrow as if nothing had happened.
He begins to realize that rather than making him feel more secure, the burrow has weakened his ability to meet an assault successfully. The most tragic realization in this story is that not even the best possible entrance or the best possible bulwark can save him, that "in all probability it would. There is no direct correlation between the safety one desires, the efforts to achieve it that one goes through, and the realization of this safety.
He may have created a nightmare for himself, which of course does not make his agony any less harrowing. When we look at the story in this way, we realize that the whistling may well have been delusion, the result of his pathological preoccupation with himself On several occasions, Kafka referred to tuberculosis as being his "beast," and we may safely read the story on this level.
Primarily, of course, it is a reflection of his own lifelong quest for security and salvation, as well as a sensitive diagnosis of an age which, while still deeming itself healthy and safe, was rapidly falling victim to the barbarities of twentieth-century political ideologies. Quite in keeping with the intensity of its truthfulness to life, "The Burrow" has no end to indicate the termination of the drama described. Everything remains open and the battle rages on.
Whenever the hero of a Kafka story is also its narrator, we are faced with the question of who it is that he is actually telling the story to. To whom is it, for instance, that the dog in "Investigations of a Dog" tells about the research he has conducted all by himself and in which nobody else is interested?
Or to whom is it that the ape talks in "A Report to an Academy"? The wide use of interior monologue designed to record the internal emotional experience of the animal on several levels of consciousness is most effective.
The Burrow by Franz Kafka review – a superb new translation
After his A levels he chose to live as a street musician in Spain for a couple of month, and then studied music and mathematics at the University of Education in Kiel for five semesters. Before he started working at the Schleswig-Holstein State Theatre he went on tour several times. Then followed engagements at the Renaissance Theatre, the Grips Theatre , and at the intimate theatre of the Deutsches Theatre in Berlin. She finished her theatre and film studies at Dartmouth College with honors. Her career began on the theatre stages of New York and then led her to cinema. Janitor: Josef Hader Josef Hader is the most popular actor of indie-cinema in Austria, known for his dark humor and incredible performance. He was born in in Upper Austria.
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Refresh and try again. Want to Read saving…. Mar tbe, Saliha rated it really liked it. The Burrow by Franz Kafka It is outside all possibilities of naming and comprehension, and its inability to be contained within the alternatives of man and beast puts it in the perimeter of any shared human Symbolic Order. It also, just like a human being, struggles with keeping up with his practice of becoming human. Apr 24, Huda Yahya rated it really liked it Shelves: Probably my favorite short story by Kafka, and one of the best ever written.