Franz Kafka

Essay by CrazyAsianHigh School, 12th gradeA, November 2002

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Franz Kafka, son of Hermann and Julie Kafka who were married in 1882, was born in Prague, July 3, 1883 and died of tuberculosis in an infirmary near Vienna, June 3, 1924. Franz's childhood, by all accounts, must have been indescribably lonely. Both parents out lived Franz. His father died in 1932 at the age of 79, his mother in 1934 at the age of 78. Hermann Kafka, the son of a butcher, was a strong, energetic, and domineering man who established a successful wholesale haberdashery warehouse in Prague. The family lived in comfortable circumstances.

The name Kafka is Czech by origin and in its correct spelling of "Kavka" literally means "Jackdaw". This bird, with its big head and beautiful tail, was embossed on the business envelopes of the firm of Hermann Kafka in which Franz in the old days often used to enclose his letters. Kafka is not an uncommon surname among Jews whose families came from Czech districts.

Franz was raised as a German and a Jew. He attended German schools and the German University in Prague. Later in life, Kafka acquired a through knowledge of the Czech language and its literature, but all of his writings were done in German.

Kafka began his studies in 1901 and earned a doctorate in jurisprudence at the Imperial and Royal Karl-Ferdinand German University of Prague in 1906. He worked in various capacities as a lawyer for two years before accepting a position with the Workers' Accident Insurance Institute in Prague. The principal advantages of this job were its security and the hours of work. Kafka began to write while he was a university student, and was first published in 1909. Franz Kafka was a little-known writer, a Jew living in Prague and writing in German. His friend Max Brod...