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Each person has their own opinion on what they believe the word Justice symbolizes and means particularly to them. Franz Kafka may not have the same interpretation or outlook on what we see as justice or in this case injustice in his novels, which is difficult for a reader to interpret by just reading his novels which one has to really think about what Kafka is saying and trying to accomplish when he is writing. I believe that in his novel Amerika Franz Kafka tries to show us what he believes is unjust to him by showing us the readers how the other characters in the novel are unjust but believe are just.
It appears that in either Franz Kafka s novels or short stories injustice occurs early and makes a reader to believe that we see a glimpse of what we believe the relationship is between him and his father. If we look at the novels Amerika and The Metamorphosis we see a lot of similarities between the two. In the beginning of Amerika Karl Rossmann, a 16 year old boy who is shipped to America after being raped by a servant. We see the first occurance of injustice right in the beginning of the novel, by Karl being the one who was raped is shipped off to America after doing no wrong whatsoever. In this kind of situation onw would think that the servant would be the one who would be shipped elsewhere by Karl s parents but instead we see Karl s parents sending him away for the wrong the servant did. Normally one would think that the parents would stand behind their son, flesh and blood, and want ot be with him through this difficult period but instead they just get rid of him like he was the servant and has no personal relationship with his family. Just as injustice happends in the beginning of the novel Amerika we also see it in his short story The Metamorphosis when the character Gregor is transformed into a insect. How may this be looked upon as injustice a reader may ask oneslef while reading this? If you reall think about what Kafka is trying to symbolize Gregor s transformation onw could come to the conclusion that he is trying to use this transformation as symboilism. Gregor waking up as a bug can be looked upon as meaning many thing such as the empty,insignificant, and outcast life that Gregor leads as a traveling sales lackey or his failure in the business world. One could also see the transformation as Kafka s low opinion of himself as imagined through his father s eyes. The beginnings of this short story and novel we get a glimpse of what we believe Kafka s father sees him as and eventhough he does nothing wrong is still banished.
Closer the beginning of the novel Amerika we see Karl, who is on his way to Amrica on boat where he comes in contact with The Stoker who seems to get along right away. Where Karl beleives that the Stoker is being showed injustice when Karl says to the Head Purser,
May I be allowed to say, he then began, that in my opinion an injustice has been done to my friend the stoker? There s a certain man Schubal aboard who bullies him. He has a long record of satisfactory service on many ships, whose names he can give you, he is dilligent, takes an interest in his work, and it s really hard to see why on this particular ship, where the work isn t so heavy as on cargo boats, for instance, he should get so little credit. It must be sheer slander that keeps him back and robs him of the recognition that should certainly be his (Amerika 14).
We see Kafka briefly describing what he beleives is justice where the Stoker does all the work on this ship including his duties and the duties of Schubal which the Stoker receives no credit or very little while Schubal receives mostly all the recognition from the work the Stoker has done. Another point of injustice which is seen early in the novel where Karl seems to really express that this unjustice of doing work and not showing any or little gratitude is clearly wrong. Not only do we see this in Amerika but also in The Metamorphosis where Gregor becomes the familys sole breadwinner because his father s business collapsed and owes his boss a large debt, and Gregor who is proud of provding for his family who only seems to use him for purposes of the person who provides for them in their time of need is shown now compassion when his transformation occurs and looks for his family to be there in his time of need just as he was there for them.
Karl in the novel Amerika and Gregor in the short story The Metamorphosis are clearly taken advantage of which Kafka shows this is in an unusual way. Karl later in the novel meets a Frenchman named Delmarche and an Irishman named Robinson in an inn who pretend to be his friend and promise to take Karl with them to Butterford where they would be able to find good jobs. However Karl is unaware how both Robinson and Delmarche only are using him for his money where all three men stopped at an eating-house where the waitress asks all three men, Who is paying? Never did hands shoot out more quickly than those fo Delmarche and Robinsion as they pointed at Karl (Amerika 115). Robinson and Delmarche wanted to go find better jobs and to try and make more money in Butterford had no money at the time and needed Karl simply to provide for him which was their only reason for bringing Karl along with them just to take advantage of Karl and his money. Just as in the novel Amerika where Karl is being taken advantage of it also occurs In The Metamorphosis where we see the character Gregor being taken advantage of and the things he does for others. Gregor is mostly used for his earnings which his family looks at him as being their survival and rely on him to bring home the money in order for them to survive, which they seem to love Gregor but when he is suddenly transformed the truth comes out that all he was used for was to support the family and with Gregor being a bug they had no use for him no longer.
Kafka has a unique way in showing what he beleives is just and what is unjust. We see this in The Metamorphosis but mostly we see this in his novel Amerika. A reader may not pick up on what Kafka is trying to accomplish at first but if you were to go back and reread Amerika again one could come to the conclusion that Kafka procrastinates and awful lot purposely to show what he beleives is just and unjust. In Amerika Uncle Jacob writes Karl a letter after Karl feeling that his Uncle did not want him to go to Mr.Pollunder s house with him went anyways thinking it was allright and Uncle Jacob writes,
But as for the moment nothing indicates that this could happen, I must, after the incident today, ecpressly send you away from me, and I urgently beg you neither to visit me in person, nor to try to get in touch with me either by writing or through intermediaries. Against my wishes you decided this evening to leave me; stick then, to that decision all your life. Only then will it be a manly decision (Amerika 95).
Kafka believes that his Uncle Jacob is unjust because Karl was unaware that his uncle felt like this and if so he would not have left to go with Mr.Pollunder. Kafka goes on procrastinating how Mr.Pollunder should have taken Karl him when he asked to which was before midnight when Mr.Green was given specific orders to give Karl the letter then. This particular scene Kafka wanted to show how he believes that Uncle Jacob who should of told Karl how he really felt about him leaving before it was too late, Mr.Green who should of given Karl the note sooner so Karl could try to mend things with his uncle, and also Mr.Pollunder who kept Karl at his home purposely till midnight where he was to receive his letter from his uncle even though Karl wanted to go home sooner because he thought his uncle was upset with him for leaving. So in order to show what Kafka believes is unjust he does so by showing how Uncle Jacob believes he is just and procrastinates to show the reader how really it is unjust.
As the novel Amerika ends as Karl hurries to catch the train and only now realizes how big America is and he travels through high mountains and on bridges over precipitous streams as the wind blows on Karl s face, which is where the novel ends. Where one may begin to believe that Karl will finally find a job, a home, and freedom where maybe he finally went through all these tough times with being taken advantage of and being sent away by not only his parents but also his uncle where he learned the hard way how to become independent. All this may have happened for a reason and in the end for all that he has done and the injustice that is presented to him throughout the novel is finally shown the justice he rightfully deserves.
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