Many readers approach Franz Kafka’s literature with trepidation and unease. In contrast with the books of his Victorian-era predecessors, Kafka’s novels are not filled with pithy moral messages or instructions about how to live a good life. Instead, they are dark and confusing analyses of a world that lacks order, where people suffer unusual fates and navigate punishing odds. The beleaguered heroes of his novels gain no wisdom or salvation as they surmount difficulty on difficulty; their “prize,” if they are lucky, is to avoid endless punishment or a cruel death. Protagonists often make this frightening journey alone—pushed into exile and abandoned by friends and family when they are needed the most.
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Taran S, Detsky AS. When Physicians Turn Into Patients—Becoming Kafka’s Cockroach. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(6):753–754. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.1467
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