The Judgment – Franz Kafka

Book: The Complete Short Stories of Franz Kafka
Status: Still reading.

‘The Judgment’ was written in a long night of frenzied writing, on the night of 22nd September 1912.
Kafka became Kafka with this story, and even he thought he had done a good job of it. And who am I to disagree… it’s one of his best. I’m not going to attempt to analyse it… but I will say that it’s eerie how Kafka’s father, almost ten years later, said something similar to Georg’s father. Not as coarse, nor as hurtful, but when arguing about Kafka’s engagement to Julie Wohryzek, his father said “She probably put on a fancy blouse, something these Prague Jewesses are good at, and right away, of course, you decided to marry her“
Here are some parts of ‘The Judgment’ that really caught my eye.

“’Because she lifted up her skirts”, his father began to flute, ‘because she lifted up her skirts like this, the nasty creature,’ and mimicking her he lifted his shirt so high that one could see the scar on his thigh from his war wound, ‘ because she lifted up her skirts like this and this you made up to her, and in order to make free with her undisturbed you have disgraced your mothers memory, betrayed your friend, and stuck your father into bed so that he can’t move. But he can move, or can’t he?’”

“’You comedian!’ Georg could not resist the retort, realised at once the harm done and, his eyes starting in his head, bit his tongue back, only too late, till the pain made his knees give.”

“’…That’s why he hasn’t been here for years, he knows everything a hundred times better than you do yourself, in his left hand he crumples your letters unopened while in his right hand he holds up my letters to read through!’
In his enthusiasm he waved his arm over his head. ‘He knows everything a thousand times better!’ he cried.
‘Ten thousand times!’ said Georg, to make fun of his father, but in his very mouth the words turned into deadly earnest.”

An amazing part of this story is the ending, but I won’t give it away!

Taken from ‘The Judgment’ by Franz Kafka, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir.
Available from Amazon UK  –


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