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Contrasting Literary Work: Kafka and Grimm Brothers

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Fairytales have been created and shared for centuries, being spread throughout different parts of the world. It is said that women were the majority of fairy tale tellers, which gradually led to more interest in both sexes. The Grimm brothers were well known for their first publications of folktales and fairytales, later influencing the writer Franz Kafka. Although Kafka and the Grimm brothers are very different externally, the interior of their literary work connects them, specifically through their fairytale creations.

In the early 1800's the Grimm brothers created a collection of several dozen tales that were transcribed into what is known today as The Brothers Grimm. These tales originated from aristocratic storytellers that were later developed by the brothers. The majority of their collection consists of tales that are intertwined with nature, which was a meaningful setting adapted by the Grimm brothers. Their typical tale would usually include a range from lower to higher-class people such as: fishermen, herdsmen, servants, princes, kings etc. They emphasize the importance of the characters that are more closely connected to nature. The people of royalty are mentioned, but the true glorifications belong to the lower class. This seems to develop an alliance between culture and nature. A qualifying example of this would be the tale of, "The Frog Prince", which can be located in The Brothers Grimm. This story is about a Prince that has been cursed to be a frog until he has developed a relationship with a princess. This shows the inclusion of both lower and higher-class. One day, the Princess decides to go outside with her golden ball that she ends up losing in a deep pond. The frog shows up stating that he can retrieve the ball under certain conditions. They make compromise that the frog would be allowed to go home with her so that she can love, feed, and take care of him. Once her ball is returned, she runs off breaking her promises. The frog is left helpless, but decides not to give up. He later finds her, where she has no choice but to honor the arrangements. After a few days of the frog and the Princess spending time together, he awakens back into his original human form wooing the princess. They go off together into his kingdom where they marry and live happily ever after. This story uses supernatural events to indicate a world of complete justice, defined by a structure of right and wrong.

In the novel, The Metamorphosis, author Franz Kafka writes about an adult known as Gregor, the family provider, who transforms into a massive insect. He works as a traveling salesman using his hard-earned money to support his parents and sister, also having to pay off his father's debt. Once his sudden transformation occurs, the family can no longer rely him on. Although Gregor was the one who made the most extreme transfiguration, he wasn't alone. His family was forced to change their lives in order to cope with the humiliation of Gregor's transformation. It is clear that Kafka's work is closely related to tales of absurdity. He inverts the ideas of past fairytales by creating a more urbanized setting rather than the typical nature setting. His story is based on randomness and insanity, which strays from other fairytale concepts of concrete justices. The randomness used in his work, allows the reader to question what comes next. His story becomes unpredictable because of such an uncanny plot and family that has been created.

Unlike Kafka's tale of metamorphosis, the Grimm's tale goes along with predictable patterns to their conclusions. Guiltless characters and the ones that vindicate themselves are re-transfigured into human shapes in the tale's conclusion, in this case being the frog.



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