The Life and Exceptional Work of Writer, Franz Kafka
A prolific writer who left a dent on his domain, Franz Kafka deserves to be considered for inclusion into Howard Gardner's model of creativity. Just as Picasso revolutionized the domain of art with rule-breaking paintings of grotesque combinations of people's emotional and visual interpretations of the world, Kafka, through his writing, delved into the emotions of a bleak and spiritually lacking World War I society and showed its pressures to crush individuality and conform to the norm. He did so by creating what society would define as "ugly, freakish images of people", and then made those people the tragic heroes of his stories. Kafka changed his domain so much that the term "kafka-esque" was coined to describe any works that were as haunting or self-revealing as his own. Later writers were deeply influenced by his work, such as future Noble prize winning author Elias Canetti, who proclaimed this about "The Metamorphosis": "In "The Metamorphosis" Kafka reached the height of his mastery: he wrote something that could never be surpassed, because there is nothing which "The Metamorphosis" could be surpassed by-- one of the few great, perfect poetic works of this century." (Kafka, 1996 pg. ix) Kafka's astounding level of creativity does warrant an investigation into a possible place in Howard Gardner's model. However, as stated before, Franz Kafka would not be a perfect fit.
Background on Kafka
"Please-- consider me a dream." Those words were spoken by Franz Kafka to the father of his lifelong friend Max Brod. (Baumer, pg. 2) Within that sentence, the entire theme of Kafka's life is summed up. A lonely man who was terrified to reach the summit of his creative potential, Kafka was forced to instead spend most of his adult life stifling his passion to write. Perpetually trapped in a cage of low self-esteem, Kafka had to battle his father, his Jewish ancestry, and his own self-doubts. Extremely introverted, Kafka felt a need to hide his inner true person, and instead mask it with something that society would accept. Using writing as an escape valve for his soul, such works as "The Metamorphosis" and The Trial metaphorically provide a window to this hidden person. Kafka also revealed this part of himself to trusted friends like Max Brod, and his love of five years, Felice Bauer. For the most part, however, Kafka was a dual person of sorts: Franz the accepted employee of an insurance company who nicely fit the demands he felt from his social environment, and Franz the cursed writer trapped in a "dreamworld" whose work was never to be fully appreciated in his lifetime.
Childhood and Discouraging Isolation
Kafka does not be a perfect fit into one important part of Howard Gardner's model. Gardner's examples usually were inspired and encouraged by their family during their childhood. Kafka, on the other hand, felt isolated, controlled, and abandoned by his. Born on July 3,...