The Curious Case of Kafka’s “Odradek”: A Trickster in the Old World | Shamsad Mortuza

The Curious Case of Kafka’s “Odradek”: A Trickster in the Old World | Shamsad Mortuza

The Curious Case of Kafka’s “Odradek”: A Trickster in the Old World
Shamsad Mortuza

Abstract: Franz Kafka’s “The Cares of a Family Man” is a narrative riddle that has created an interpretive frenzy. Central to the discussion of the short story is Odradek, a wooden bobbin, which veers between being human and nonhuman. The transgression of identity is informed by an assemblage that makes Odradek a character that is both social and anti-social. Kafka presents this character as a bricolage between the sacred and the profane. More importantly, it is connected to some threads which can be identified as a metaphor for narrative. This paper considers various interpretations of Odradek and compares it with the culture hero, the trickster. AlthoughOdradek is a modernist figure that responds to the angst of the Europe after the Great War, I shall argue that it can be considered as a marginal figure trickster that continuously asserts the need for continuance and survival.

Keywords: Kafka, animal, sacred, profane, trickster, assemblage, thing-power, Marxism, psychoanalysis

View Full Text

Published in 2015

The Universityof Liberal Arts Bangladesh and its curricula are accredited by the University Grants Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh, and approved by the Ministry of Education, Government of People's Republic of Bangladesh.