Having died a month short of his 40th birthday, Franz Kafka is seen by some critics as having been on the threshold of a greater art than he had displayed earlier in his career. Examined in this text are Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," "The Judgement," "In the Penal Colony," "A Hunger Artist," and "Josephine the Singer and the Mousefolk."
Plot summary of "The metamorphosis" List of characters in "The metamorphosis" Critical views on "The metamorphosis." Michael P. Ryan on the influence of Eastern philosophy ; Mark Sanders on the ethical implications of Gregor's marginalization ; J. Brooks Bouson on the metaphors of narcissism ; Stanley Corngold on how metaphor is made literal ; Evelyn Tornton Beck on the similarities between Kafka's story and Gordin's play The savage one Plot summary of "The judgement" List of characters in "The judgement" Critical views on "The judgement." Allen Thiher on the self-referential aspects ; Stanley Corngold on the figural tension between Georg and his father ; James M. McGlathery on Kafka's anxiety about his own marriage ; Bluma Goldstein on the relationship between economic factors and social behavior ; V. Murrill and W. S. Marks III on the connections between Kafka's story and Freud's work on dreams Plot summary of "In the penal colony" List of characters in "In the penal colony" Critical views on "In the penal colony." Malynne Sternstein on Kafka's use of humor against interpretation ; Mark Anderson on the body as art ; Arnold Weinstein on the impossibility of a final interpretation for the story ; Allen Thiher on writing as access to the law ; Clayton Koelb on the reading process Plot summary of "A hunger artist" List of characters in "A hunger artist" Critical views on "A hunger artist." Kurt Fickert on the unreliable narrator in the story ; Frank Vulpi on the Faustian aspects of the story ; Breon Mitchell on the factual precedents for Kafka's story ; Nathan Cervo on the satirical nature of the story ; Joseph M. Garrison on the collective power of art Plot summary of "Josephine the Singer and the mousefolk" List of characters in "Josephine the Singer and the mousefolk" Critical views on "Josephine the Singer and the mousefolk." Laurence A. Rickels on the phantasmal aspects of Josephine's singing ; Ruth V. Gross on the importance of Josephine's female voice ; J. P. Stern on the redefinition of Kafka's oeuvre ; Boris Suchkov on art's relevance to society ; Ursula R. Mahlendorf on Kafka's own creative process.